Reacting to intense criticism from CBS’ Super Bowl halftime-show controversy, Viacom Inc. will implement new strategies to avoid future embarrassing incidents during live televised events.
In a memo sent Wednesday to Viacom employees that was posted on internalmemos.com (www.internalmemos.com/memos), Karmazin said the company was "shocked and embarrassed" about what transpired at the end of the MTV: Music Television-produced Super Bowl halftime performance, in which Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed during a bump-and-grind routine with pop singer Justin Timberlake.
Jackson has said she came up with the idea after the last rehearsal and no one at MTV or CBS had any knowledge about her plan.
The event has sparked a Federal Communications Commission investigation, which could lead to substantial fines for CBS owned-and-operated and affiliated stations.
"We conducted an investigation and are satisfied that we handled the creation and staging of the halftime show responsibly and that both CBS and MTV reviewed all planned aspects of the performances in detail and in advance," Karmazin said in the memo.
Nevertheless, he outlined several steps the company will take "to minimize and hopefully eliminate the vulnerability inherent to live television," including the implementation of a video delay for CBS’ Feb. 8 Grammy Awards telecast.
Karmazin also said the network will redouble Viacom’s already thorough oversight of all live performances to make sure they live up to the company’s network standards.
"We believe this new procedure will allow us to keep unplanned and unscripted --accidental or otherwise -- incidents from occurring in the future," he said.
Representatives from Viacom could not be reached for comment at press time.