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PTC: NBC Should Let Affils Vet 'Carmichael Show'

The Parents Television Council wants NBC to rate an upcoming episode of The Carmichael Show for adults and give its affiliates a chance to review the episode to see if it is appropriate for their viewers and advertisers.

At issue is reports that the show plans to include unbleeped uses of the n-word.

PTC says its understanding from online reports is that the episode will air June 21. The show airs at 8 p.m. in the central and mountain time zones.

"In light of the firestorm brought on by Bill Maher’s recent use of the word on HBO, we want to send an advisory message to parents that the ‘N-word’ will air at a time and place where children are likely to be watching,” said PTC president Tim Winter, himself a former exec with NBC. Maher has apologized for his use of the word.

PTC recognizes Jerrod Carmichael has tackled hot-button issues and cites a Los Angeles Times story saying he plans to use the word in "an adult" manner, but PTC says its parental advisory to parents and potential advertisers about the show is justified as is an adult rating if the word is going to be used in an "adult" manner. 

Of those hot-button issues, Common Sense Media, which provides family-oriented reviews for TV fare whose partners include Comcast/NBCU, said they have included "the Trayvon Martin shooting, standoffs between protestors and police, and allegations of racial profiling," raising "some serious topics you should consider talking about with your teens if they tune in," it says in reviewing the show as appropriate for 12-plus.

NBC declined to comment on whether it would give affils a chance to pre-screen the show or what its rating will be.

The show this season has been rated both TV14DL and TVPGDL. According to the ratings website, TV14DL means the program "contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended," specifically "intensely suggestive dialogue (D) [and] strong coarse language (L)." 

TVPGDL "contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many parents may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program may contain one or more of the following: some suggestive dialogue (D), infrequent coarse language (L)." 

The adult rating is TVMA, which means "unsuitable for children under 17."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.