The Federal Communications Commission Friday dismissed complaints that episodes of FX show Nip/Tuck were both indecent and obscene.
The agency dismissed the complaints related to indecency on the basis that it has no authority to regulate cable for indecency, and that it can only do so for broadcast radio and TV.
The FCC has authority to regulate cable obscenity, but it determined that Supreme Court guidelines for assessing whether programming is obscene had not been met.
The court’s test is designed to isolate “hard-core” pornography from First Amendment protection, the commission said.
“The complaints, even those that cite to and describe specific episodes, do not allege that the program actually depicts the kind of ‘hard-core’ pornography covered by [the Supreme Court test],” the FCC added.
The commission described the nature of the complaints in general terms, including depictions of “actors engaged in an array of simulated sexual acts, including oral, anal and genital intercourse, as well as nudity.”
The FCC said other complaints focused on “the program’s graphic portrayal of medical procedures such as liposuction and rhinoplasty.”
Cable obscenity is a criminal offense, which can lead to fines, imprisonment for two years, or both.