'Survivor' Reveals a Bit Too Much for Watchdog Group

With the likes of
With the likes of "Dancing With the Stars" (with Toni Braxton and Alec Mazo), ABC had a 3 percent gain over Premiere Week '07. (By Kelsey Mcneal -- Abc Via Associated Press)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, October 2, 2008

CBS, the network that gave us the Nipple That Knicker-Knotted a Nation, now brings us the Peekaboo Penis.

The self-appointed watchdog group Parents Television Council has filed an indecency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission over the season debut of "Survivor: Gabon" -- ironically the first episode of this series to be broadcast in high-definition.

If you look closely at participants in a race, you see Marcus Lehman's little colonel "falling out" of his boxer shorts as he runs to the finish line, PTC reports. "The image was not obscured in any way," PTC notes in disgust. In fairness, the episode had a lot of pixelation -- just not of Lehman's male pride.

"Although this instance was brief, it was nonetheless shocking and purposeful," PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement.

CBS, in a statement, insisted it was "a completely unintentional, inadvertent and fleeting incident that was virtually undetectable when viewed in real time." "Fleeting" was the word of choice when the Super Bowl Nipplegate story broke, too. "In the first 24 hours after the broadcast, before freeze-frame images were widely posted online, we received one viewer comment from the 13 million who watched the telecast," the network said.

PTC had this to say about that:

"CBS's decision to hide behind excuses that the incident was 'fleeting' and didn't generate an immediate flood of complaints is the epitome of irresponsibility. The number of 'fleeting' penises we expect to see on broadcast television is zero."

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Broadcast network suits celebrating surprisingly reassuring Premiere Week ratings were stunned when The Reporters Who Cover Television let them have it squarely in the neck with zippy "Broadcast TV Outlook Grim for Premiere Week" reports.

While television executives tend to look upon TRWCT like something that has come out from under a flat stone and insinuated itself into their luncheon salad, they were nonetheless hurt by these articles, which seemed mysteriously similar to the articles written about Premiere Week last season, and the season before that, and the one before that. Some were straight out of the "OMG, with Rocky Road, tutti-frutti, pistachio mint and 25 more flavors available, people aren't consuming as much vanilla, chocolate and strawberry as they once did -- it's the end for vanilla, chocolate and strawberry!" school. And this year, what with DVR penetration approaching 30 percent of U.S. homes, they also noticed some news reports that ran along the lines of: "OMG, with so many more homes now owning refrigerators, consumers are now eating their vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream when they want to, instead of at the ice cream truck! It's the end of the communal ice-cream-eating experience as we know it!"

When the dust settled on Premiere Week back in September '07, every broadcast network had suffered losses -- again. Collectively, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW were down 7 percent among viewers of all ages; they were down 10 percent among the 18-to49-year-old viewers advertisers bill and coo over.

This year, some ad-buying firms predicted the broadcasters would lose even more ground, what with the 100-day writers' strike having wiped out their previous TV season for the most part.

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