Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that, "In Feburary 2004, 2.9 children ages 2 to 11 watched those four broadcast networks that PTC whomped on in this study." The number of children is actually 2.9 million.
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TV Column: Is prime-time violence against women really going up?

No airborne 'V' day

DIDN'T FLY: Sky-writing has been scrapped as a way to kick off ABC's "V," starring Morena Baccarin.
DIDN'T FLY: Sky-writing has been scrapped as a way to kick off ABC's "V," starring Morena Baccarin. (David Gray/abc)

ABC has scrubbed its plan to festoon the skies over the country's major landmarks with giant red V's to promote the Nov. 3 debut of its alien-invasion drama coincidentally called "V."

Last week, the network announced it would deploy sky-writing planes above 26 landmarks -- including the Statue of Liberty and California's Santa Monica Pier -- in 15 cities over 12 days, all to promote a four-day sampling of the science-fiction series that ABC then plans to take off the air and return early next year.

A Hollywood Reporter piece this week on the stunt's cancellation, and other reports by news outlets, all point their finger at The TV Column's coverage of the "V" campaign, in which we noted how many gallons of fuel, grams of lead (aviation fuel is exempt from the EPA's ban on lead), tons of CO{-2} and other pollutants the sky-writing gag might dump into the air, in evident contradiction of parent company Disney's stated goal of cutting its fuel emissions in half by 2012.

We called ABC for comment; a rep confirmed the sky-writing had been scrubbed. Asked why, the rep said the network had decided to spend its money on other initiatives and declined to elaborate.

(Incidentally, ABC had not planned to "V" up Washington because of restrictions on plane travel over the city since Sept. 11, 2001.)

"V," debuting on the eve of the first anniversary of Barack Obama's election, is about a bunch of good-looking, charismatic aliens who come to Earth and promise to show us the way to "Hope," "Change" and universal health care, but who turn out to be ugly lizard people who want to infiltrate our government and have rallied the country's youth behind their nefarious campaign. The original 1980s miniseries of same name, on which the ABC show is based, was seen as a thinly veiled portrait of fascism. In the original, the lizard people's ultimate goal was to drain Earth of its natural resources.

Hence the further twisted irony of the sky-writing campaign.

Now, to recap: The campaign was a marketing stunt intended to get people talking about "V." This is exactly what the press is now doing. ABC has achieved its end without having to spend gobs of money on actual sky-writing.

Happy to help.

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