FCC opens proceeding on Nicktoon


A children’s media watchdog is arguing that “Zevo-3,” a new cartoon program coming to Nicktoons featuring characters heretofore seen only in promotions for Skechers shoes, constitutes a program-length commercial. The FCC is taking comments on the matter before rendering a decision.

The petition comes from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The FCC wrote, “According to CCFC, “Zevo-3” features characters originally developed by the shoe manufacturer Skechers USA to promote the sale of Skechers shoes to children. CCFC argues that the entire program ‘Zevo-3’ is a promotion for Skechers shoes and that the program therefore violates, among other things, the limit on the amount of advertising in children’s programming in the CTA and the Commission’s rules. Through this Public Notice, we seek comment on CCFC’s petition.”

Comments on the issue, under MB Docket No. 10-190, are due 10/22/10 with reply comments accepted until 11/8/10.

RBR-TVBR observation: We understand the watchdog complaint, but we also believe this is in some ways another gray area. Anybody who has children knows that Elmo and other PBS characters may not appear in commercial breaks during their programs, but they sure do have a strong presence in toy stores.

But it’s one thing to have Popeye promoting spinach (hey, this writer has been a lifelong taker on that one!), and quite another if Popeye suggests chasing it with a fat and sugar laden treat coming from a program sponsor.

The FCC is opening the floor for comment, but why wait? As always, the RBR-TVBR floor is open. Just use the comment area below and weigh in immediately.