If you don't like violence on television, you better not watch "Walt Disney" or the "Greatest Heroes of the Bible," a consumer group warned yesterday.
Those two television series were listed as being among the ten most violent programs on prime time television -- worse even than shows like Hawaii-Five-O or Police Story -- in a new survey released by the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting, a watchdog group chaired by Ralph Nader.
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) was the network responsible for the most violence during the one-month survey period, the group also charged, crediting the network with showing 4,446 incidents of violence during the four weeks of prime-time television monitored for the study.
The group found, however, that televised violence in general was on the decline, showing that the number of violent acts on broadcast programs has dropped from 1977, the last-time the group took a similar survey.
The NCCB study, which involved monitoring of all prime time commercial television for four weeks last May, said the National Broadcasting Co. was a close second in broadcasting violence, but the Columbia Broadcasting System was less violent than ABC by almost 50 percent.
For the purpose of the study, violence was defined as incidents involving gun fights, threats with guns, shootings, beathings, stranglings, man-handlings, fistfights, inflicting wounds, stabs, attempted drownings, attempted suicides, murder, kidnapping and suicide.
The group measured the number and duration of the incidents listed above.
The study found that ABC showed the most violent movies, averaging 111 acts of violence per week, while NBC had the most violence-prone series, averaging 84 violent acts per week.
Of the top 12 violent shows, seven were on NBC, but of the top 12 violent movies, seven belonged to ABC.
The ten most violent series in order of finish were: Young Guy Christian (ABC), The Duke (NBC), Cliff Hangers (NBC), Buffalo Soldiers (NBC), Charlies Angels (ABC), Greatest Heroes of the Bible (NBC), Rockford Files (NBC), Dukes of Hazzard (CBS), Walt Disney (NBC), and the Incredible Hulk (CBS).
Young Guy Christian was a short-lived series about a playboy who combats international evil in his spare time, while the Duke was a series about a boxer who became a detective after losing his touch in the ring.
The NCCB study also listed the advertisers who sponsored the most violent shows.
The Chrysler Corp. sponsored the most violence on television, the NCCB reported, followed in order by: Hi C Fruit Drinks, Budweiser Beer, Duracell Batteries, Mennen Products, Bordon Food Products, Wrangler Jeans, General Mills, Sealy Mattress, and Miller products, the only repeater from the list of top ten violence advertisers in 1977.
"The 1919 TV violence results are basically good news," said Sam Simon, NCCB's executive director in releasing the study. "Of all the programs on television during the month of May, about 45 percent contained no definable incidents of violence at all. This is a real improvement over three years ago when excessive violence filled the screen."
Simon pointed out that "NCCB's monitoring report does not make value judgements regarding the worth or value of particular programming. That's up to the individual viewer. We provide a consumer index of information to help people evaluate their viewing habits and express their concerns."
Critics of the NCCB study point out the difficulties in classifying violence, and warn that any such evaluations must, by nature, be subjective.