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NBC Adds Voice To FCC Remand Opposition

NBC Friday added its voice to the networks opposed to delaying their court case against four FCC profanity rulings while the FCC takes a second look at them.

CBS, Fox and its affiliates are also opposing the FCC review, while ABC, its affiliates and the affiliate groups for both CBS and NBC are supporting it.

Like CBS and Fox, NBC told the federal appeals court for the second circuit that the FCC is just trying to delay judicial review of its "supposed" indecency guidance.

According to papers filed with the court, NBC points to the fact that the FCC has not ruled on two-year-old network petitions challenging and asking to stay enforcement of its decision in 2004 that "f-ing briliant" from Bono on NBC's Golden Globes was indecent. The FCC did not fine NBC because that finding was a change from past commission rulings that fleeting profanities were not indecent, but was essentially serving notice.

It similarly did not issue fines in the four March profanity findings, since those occurred before the Bono decision.

Also like Fox and CBS, NBC says that if the court grants the FCC's request to let it review the decisions, and review station arguments that they were not indecent, it should stay enforcement of that toughened profanity policy until tafter he FCC's 60-day review.

NBC also says that whichever way the court rules, it should change the date for filing opening briefs in the case from July 12 to five business days after it rules.

The networks and affiliates were all on the same page in April when they took the unprecedented step of joining in the court challenge, saying: “We strongly believe that several of the FCC rulings issued on March 15 are unconstitutional, and find them inconsistent with two decades of previous FCC decisions.  In filing these court appeals we are seeking to overturn the FCC decisions that the broadcast of fleeting, isolated—and in some cases unintentional—words rendered these programs indecent."

"The FCC rulings underscore the inherent problem in growing government control over what viewers should and shouldn’t see on television."