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TV Column
Posted at 06:19 PM ET, 04/30/2013

NBC Salt Lake City station pulls ‘Hannibal’ from its schedule


Laurence Fishburne, left, as Jack Crawford and Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. (Brooke Palmer - AP)
One of NBC’s TV stations has beaten the network to the punch and pulled “Hannibal” off its Thursday schedule.

That, after last Thursday’s episode averaged just 2.4 million viewers on the first night of the May sweep ratings derby, which local stations use to set ad rates for the coming months.

Can you guess which NBC station yanked “Hannibal”?

If you guessed NBC’s Salt Lake City station, KSL TV — you’re right!

Serious students of TV know KSL, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a tradition of letting America know, usually before a TV season begins in September, which of NBC’s new primetime series it will not air.

Last August it was “The New Normal” — Ryan Murphy’s comedy about a gay couple having a baby via a single-mom surrogate who comes with a “small-minded” (said NBC) granny, played by Ellen Barkin, who provides the show with such laugh lines as: “I happen to love the gays; I could never get my hair to look this good without them.”

KSL deemed the show’s dialogue, “excessively rude and crude,” its scenes “too explicit” and the stereotypes “offensive on all sides.”

“The New Normal” marks a rare instance of an NBC series pulled by KSL that has survived on the network.

The previous summer’s lottery winner, “The Playboy Club” — about a brand “associated with pornography,” KSL explained — lasted just three episodes before NBC removed it from rotation.

KSL also declined to air NBC’s primetime remake of Brit-com “Coupling,” which NBC wound up pulling after just four episodes — because, then NBC Big Cheese Jeff Zucker explained, it “just sucked.”

And, in 2000, KSL gave thumbs down to NBC’s controversial animated comedy “God, the Devil and Bob,” which NBC canceled after a handful of low-rated episodes.

But this week’s pulling of “Hannibal” is different, in that KSL actually aired some of its episodes before yanking it. Last Thursday was episode No. 4. And with just 2.4 million tuned in, NBC soon should be following suit.

“After viewing the past few episodes, as well as receiving numerous complaints from viewers, KSL TV will cancel the airing of the NBC show “Hannibal” on Thursday evenings. This decision was made due to the extensive graphic nature of this show,” the station explained Monday evening on its Facebook page.

“We don’t make programming decisions lightly, and we want to listen to our viewers, who have called and emailed our station — and also responded with low viewership. This show has been called one of the most violent, bloody show on TV by the The Salt Lake Tribune. Thank you for your feedback — we’re reading them all,” the station added, in response to many viewer comments.

Remaining episodes will air on that market’s CW station.

By  |  06:19 PM ET, 04/30/2013

 
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