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FCC Pushing to Collect Fox Fine

The FCC Friday issued a forfeiture order against 13 Fox stations for a 2003 airing of reality show Married by America.

The FCC is fining the stations $7,000 apiece, considerably lower than the $1.18 million it had earlier proposed for the 134 stations that carried the broadcast. The program featured pixilated nudity, which the FCC said Friday was still actionable.

“Fox strongly disagrees with the commission's conclusions in the notice and we will be actively considering our options,” the network said in a statement.

Those options could include simply paying the fine—considered highly unlikely—or paying the fine, then taking the FCC to court, as ABC did in a similar action last week. Or it could refuse to pay and force the Justice Department to try to make it pay.

The FCC, which argues that its indecency standard is not vague, fined a handful of stations where complaints had actually been filed in their markets—a new policy. The FCC is running into the statute of limitations to collect civil penalties.