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CBS Gets Fourth Extension On Trace Complaint

CBS has gotten yet another extension, this one 30 days, on its response to the FCC on the challenge to KUTV Salt Lake City's license for airing an episode of drama Without a Trace. It had been due Sept. 14, which itself had been a move from the previous dute date of Aug. 31. .

Now the response will be due in mid-October.

A CBS spokeswoman could not say whether the network had asked for the extra time. The FCC had extended the Aug. 31 date without being asked, likely to push it past the Labor Day Weekend. No word on whether the latest extension had anything to do with the Rosh Hashana holiday.

The Without a Trace response deadline has been itself hard to trace.

CBS was initially to have responded around the Fourth of July holiday, but asked and got an extension to Aug. 10, and then another to Aug 31, though there appeared to have been no holiday on Aug. 10 to move it away from (Aug. 6 is a Civic Holiday in Canada, however), and no FCC paper trail on that additional extention.

The Parents Television Council challenged KUTV's license after CBS' December 2004 airing of the Trace episode, which contained a teen orgy scene.

It was a repeat of a show PTC had complained about earlier, one of many that were sponged away when CBS’ then-parent Viacom settled all but the Janet Jackson Super Bowl complaint in a consent decree. The episode aired only weeks after the consent decree had been signed, angering the PTC all the more.

As part of the consent decree, CBS agreed to take certain, specific remedial actions if the FCC issued a proposed indecency fine. The FCC did so, a record $3.6 million, in response to PTC’s complaint. 

As part of its investigation into the license challenge, the FCC wants to know if CBS took those remedial actions, including launching an investigation and suspending the person responsible for the show's airing, per the consent degree agreement. CBS's letter in response to that FCC inquiry is what has been extended from July until October at least.

CBS has said it didn’t violate the terms of the November 2004 agreement.