Tele-Communications Inc. has temporarily reinstated two
programs that it yanked from its Seattle public-access channel last month due to allegedly
The MSO reached an interim agreement with producer Mike
Aivaz that allows his PEG-access (public, education and government) programming to air in
the 1 a.m. Sunday-morning time slot, but only if he adheres to a set of restrictions
established by TCI.
The MSO said it is restoring Mike Hunt's Get Your
Friend Laid Tonight and The Mike HuntShow to its weekly lineup, pending
the outcome of a lawsuit that it recently filed that seeks to have a U.S. District Court
declare the programs obscene.
"This is a temporary agreement until we get some kind
of ruling from the court," TCI spokesman Steve Kipp said.
TCI is also asking the court for "guidance" on
what restrictions it can impose on future PEG-access programming without violating federal
law, which prohibits it from exercising editorial control over such programming, but which
also requires that it keep pornography off its network.
The MSO went to court after Seattle officials dumped the
matter in the company's lap by insisting that it was TCI's responsibility as
manager of the public-access channel.
The MSO is asking for a declaratory judgment upholding its
decision to drop Aivaz's programs, along with two other weekly PEG-access programs
aired by producer T.J. Williamson.
It subsequently restored Williamson's programs,
entitled Fulfilling Your Fantasies and Adventure TV, but Aivaz's more
hard-core offerings remained off the air while a deal was hammered out between his lawyer
Under the agreement, Aivaz will refrain from any depictions
of explicit or simulated sex acts or genitalia. The restrictions apply to both on-air,
live programming and to prerecorded videotapes.
"TCI felt that it was consistent with the purpose of
public access to give Mr. Aivaz an opportunity to be heard while this case is pending, as
long as he agrees to restrict his programming," said Marshall Nelson, a TCI attorney
with Seattle-based law firm Davis, Wright, Tremaine.
Mark Levy, a local attorney representing Aivaz on behalf of
the American Civil Liberties Union, said the settlement is only a temporary solution that
does not resolve the overriding issue.
"He [Aivaz] is not happy," Levy said, "and
he intends to defend his right to air whatever he wants to."
In an interview with The Seattle Times last week,
Aivaz remained defiant.
"I intend to show lots of things, with olive leaves
saying 'no censorship' on them," he said.