Dick Wolf's new NBC drama series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is a cop show about sex crimes and is inappropriate for its 9 p.m. time slot--8 p.m. Mountain and Central time.
Says who? Dick Wolf.
Wolf says he lost a battle with NBC to get the Monday 10 p.m. time slot for his new show; that slot currently houses one of five editions of NBC News's "Dateline."
"I'm very surprised that the show has not been moved and I don't think it makes a damn bit of difference where 'Dateline' is," Wolf told about 200 TV critics at the summer TV press tour in Pasadena on Friday.
(At a party later that day, NBC suits said the call was made by NBC CEO Bob Wright and that new West Coast entertainment chief Garth Ancier was on Wolf's side.)
Wolf, one of the most vocal critics of the TV program content ratings system, says he would let his 15-year-old child watch the new cop series, but would not want his younger children watching the program.
"I say to parents exactly the same thing that I've been saying for the last five years . . . you're responsible for what your children watch. Not the government, not an electronic chip in your television. And it's not appropriate viewing for younger children."
So Wolf isn't planning to change the content of the new show one iota. "How can you do this show without . . . 10 p.m. content. It'd be kind of silly. 'Sex Misdemeanors'," Wolf said.
Instead, he's urging people to write to Wright.
Aaron Sorkin insists he's not a left-leaning writer who took a "roundhouse punch at the religious right" in the first episode of his new NBC White House drama series "The West Wing." The pilot episode features a scene in which the president tosses out three conservative religious figures after one tries to make demands.
But in Episode 2, the president takes a position on a military action "that is so hawkish, so right-leaning, that he actually frightens the joint chiefs of staff," Sorkin promised Friday.
There's no question that the Clinton White House has left Americans "dismayed," Sorkin said, but he predicted that people will watch his new series nonetheless because it will present the White House "the way we wish it was."
Even so, there will be no interns in the NBC White House because of the "snicker factor," he said.
There also will be no scandal, Sorkin said regretfully.
"The Monica Lewinsky thing is so hyper-familiar to all of us it's . . . kind of ruined scandals for everybody now," he said. "Believe me, I could have written a good one."
And, the White House "the way we wish it was" includes a Hispanic president, according to NBC West Coast President Scott Sassa, who had noted that Martin Sheen plays the role after Sassa came under fire for failing to make good on his promise to better diversify the casts of his network's prime time programs.
Asked about Sassa's comment, Sheen said he didn't realize he was "a symbol" and acknowledged that while he's a "Hispanic by birth," he's "Irish by trade."
Public broadcasting stations will end the practice of exchanging donor lists with partisan groups within a week, PBS President Ervin S. Duggan said yesterday at the conclusion of the press tour.
"By the end of this week, no station in America will be engaged in these practices," he told a meeting of the Television Critics Association, in remarks reported by the Associated Press.
As many as 30 public TV stations appear to have engaged in list rentals or exchanges with political groups.
The issue came to light in May, when Boston station WGBH admitted giving a list of donors' names to the Democratic National Committee.