Basic cable's 'raunchiness' factor -- profanity, sex and violence -- is more
than double that of broadcast television in primetime, according to a study by a
watchdog group released this week.
The Parents Television Council's analysis found that cable's average per-hour
rate of coarse language, lewd references and violence was 21.7, versus 9.8 for
'These findings suggest that original primetime basic-cable series are, as a
group, considerably raunchier than their broadcast-network counterparts,' the
study concluded. 'The present generally sorry state of original primetime
basic-cable series is not inevitable, but it will continue as long as the cable
industry's mind-set -- edgy equals entertaining, wholesome equals boring --
Comedy Central's animated South Park was crowned 'the most offensive
series' overall, with its hourly average of 126 instances of profanity and
Cable officials were quick to question the PTC's methodology -- an analysis
of just 33 series from fewer than one-dozen cable networks.
In addition to Comedy, the shows were on Nickelodeon, USA Network, MTV: Music
Television, TNN: The Nashville Network, ABC Family, A&E Network, Lifetime
Television and Turner Network Television.
In fact, three Nick series -- Invader Zim, All That and The
Fairly OddParents -- made the study's list of 10 cable series with the most
Nick defended its shows as 'age-appropriate' fare that has won awards.
'The study has some significant credibility issues based on its methodology,'
Nick spokesman Dan Martinsen said.
Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox stressed that his network and shows such as
South Park and The Man Show are not for kids.