The announcement of William Shatner’s new sitcom $#*! My Dad Says is only a day old, and already it is stirring up controversy. CBS is touting the show as a "family comedy" and putting it on at 8:30 on Thursdays, but a parents group is denouncing CBS for its choice of title, and has announced a campaign to go after affiliates who air the show and advertisers who sponsor the show.
The $#*! hits the fan
Ever since the it was announced that CBS was considering a sitcom inspired by the popular twitter account @shitmydad says, featuring the profane musings of a curmudgeonly father, there was a question as to what they would call the show. "Shit" is one of words forbidden from broadcast television by the FCC. At one point the show was being called "Bleep My Dad Says", but yesterday CBS officially announced the title would be "$#*! My Dad Says", with the "$#*!" part bleeped out in any network promos. You can see that in action with the behind the scenes preview released yesterday (below).
Even though the word "shit" will never be heard, the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group which professes to be the "nation’s most influential advocacy organization protecting children against sex, violence, and profanity on television", issued a denouncement today against CBS stating:
CBS intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show, and, despite its claim that the word will be bleeped, it is just CBS’ latest demonstration of its contempt for families and the public. There are an infinite number of alternatives that CBS could have chosen but its desire to shock and offend is crystal clear in this decision
The PTC is also promising to take action if CBS does not change the name of the show, vowing an "unrelenting campaign" against the advertisers and any affiliates that air the show before 10 PM.
CBS contends that the show is suitable for family viewing and responded to PTC in a statement:
The program is inspired by the wildly popular Twitter phenomenon, which now has more than 1.5 million followers and also has spawned a best-selling book of the same name. It will in no way be indecent and will adhere to all CBS standards. Parents who choose to do so will find the show can easily be blocked using their V Chip.
It is hard to say at this point if the PTC campaign will have any affect. Media expert Brad Agate tells THR "Certain marketers won’t have a problem with it and some may be a little bit skittish".
In an interview with Zap2It yesterday, Shatner discussed how you can’t say the real name of the show on TV “only think it”. Watch that below
Star Trek and controversy
The Star Trek franchise is no stranger to controversy and dealing with groups concerned about how the various shows were undermining the morality of children and society. Some episodes in particular garnered complaints or even some stations holding broadcasts or altering them to make them more acceptable. Famous examples are the interracial kiss in TOS "Plato’s Stepchildren", the graphic violence in TNG’s "Conspiracy", the same sex kiss in DS9’s "Rejoined" and T’Pol’s butt in ENT’s "Harbinger".
Star Trek has run into it’s own controversies over the years
Gene Roddenberry often had to deal with issues of keeping his TV shows in line with FCC guidelines. On a track from his album "Inside Star Trek" Roddenberry spoofs the what it was like dealing with network censors, listen to it below.
POLL: Give a $#*! about Shat’s show?
So what say you? Will you be following Shatner to the sitcom frontier?