PTC Report Notes "Sharp Rise" in Primetime Broadcast Profanity

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Parents Television Council says its new report documents a "sharp rise" in profanity in primetime broadcast TV, both its frequency and "harshness."

In "Habitat for Profanity: Broadcast TV's Sharp Increase in Foul Language," a study of the first two weeks of primetime in 2010 compared to the same period in 2005, PTC says there has been a 69.3% increase in the past five years, with the greatest increase coming in the 8 p.m-9 p.m. time period, what was once the so-called family hour.

PTC president Tim Winter attributes the rise to the court challenges to the FCC's authority to regulate indecency. ""After the Second Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the FCC's congressionally-mandated authority to enforce the broadcast decency law, industry and media pundits predicted a sharp increase in the amount of profanity on television. Sadly, they were correct," he said.

PTC, which is referring to bleeped and/or muted cursing (thin Fox's Hell's Kitchen), says 111 F-words have been used in the family hour in 2010, vs. 10 in 2005, and a total of 276 vs. 11 in all primetime periods of 2005.

Fox was credited with the biggest per-hour boost in cursing, with a 269% increase across all primetime hours from 2005 to 2010.

The programmer declined to comment.

PTC wants both government to better enforce, and industry to better explain, their respective content standards. PTC analyzed a total of 124 programming hours in 2005 and 128 hours in 2010 on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN, the WB (in 2005), and The CW (in 2010). 

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