In observance of veterans day, ABC will air Saving Private Ryan this evening. Although ABC has run this movie before with little controversy, a number of stations will not show it because of uncertainty about how the FCC will react. Quoting the article in USA Today (on-line).
“It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it’s a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces,” Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, told AP Radio. The company owns WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.
Other stations choosing to replace the movie with other programming include Atlanta’s WSB-TV, WFAA-TV of Dallas, WGNO-TV of New Orleans, WCPO-TV of Cincinnati, WSYX-TV of Columbus, WISN-TV of Milwaukee, WSOC-TV of Charlotte, N.C., WVEC-TV of WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., WHAS-TV of Louisville and KVUE-TV of Austin, Texas. They are owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television, Tribune Broadcasting Corp., Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
“We regret that the FCC, given its current timidity in dealing in this area, would not grant an advance waiver, which would have allowed stations like ours to run it without any question or any concern,” Cole said
KNDL in St. Louis is another affiliate that will not be showing the movie.
A number of the stations would have shown the movie after prime time, but ABC wouldn’t budge on the schedule. Steven Spielberg will not allow a cut version version to be shown. (Good for him.) So, when the movie is shown, the F word stays, and language, rather than the violent opening, is the point of contention in this case.
With the new Congress, I can understand the broadcast groups opting out and even the silence of the FCC. However, its not a complete blackout and maybe we will be pleasantly surprised by the absence of punitive action from the Feds.