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Cable Programming Law Proposed

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has gotten his wish.

A pair of legislators Thursday are introducing a bill that would require the cable industry to offer its programming in ways that would allow families to "to protect children from TV profanity and violence."

Martin has pushed for congressional action on a la carte and tiers as a content control tool, including last week after a federal court threw out its profanity findings against Fox and called the entire indecency enforcement regime into question.

According to the Parents Television Council, which backs the legislation, the bill, being introduced by Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), "would empower parents to protect their children from indecent and violent material on television through consumer choice options, such as a family tier of programming, indecency standards, or a la carte programming."

The a la carte portion would be a blocking regime in which parents would be refunded for the channels they choose not to take. It is unclear how the bill would deal with the requirement that cable subs have to take broadcast stations as part of the must-carry/must buy law. It was broadcast stations, after all, whose programming--Bono, Janet Jackson--prompted the FCC crackdown on programming.

Martin, who has pitched a la carte to Wall Street, main street and Madison Avenue,  is scheduled to speak in support of the Family Choice Act of 2007 at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday.