PTC Report Notes "Sharp Rise" in Primetime Broadcast Profanity

Television Council says its new report documents a "sharp rise" in
profanity in primetime broadcast TV, both its frequency and

In "Habitat
for Profanity: Broadcast TV's Sharp Increase in Foul Language," a study
of the first two weeks of prime time in 2010 compared to the same period
in 2005, PTC says there has been a 69.3%
increase in the past five years, with the greatest increase coming in
the 8-9 time period that was once the so-called family hour.

President Tim Winter attributes the rise to the court challenges to the
FCC's authority to regulate indecency. ""After the Second Circuit Court
of Appeals threw out the FCC's congressionally-mandated
authority to enforce the broadcast decency law, industry and media
pundits predicted a sharp increase in the amount of profanity on
television. Sadly, they were correct," he said.

PTC, which
is referring to bleeped and/or muted cursing (think Hell's Kitchen),
says 111 f-words have been used in the family hour in 2010, vs. 10 in
2005, and a total of 276 vs. 11 in all prime time
periods of 2005.

Fox (which
airs Hell's Kitchen) was credited with the biggest per-hour boost in
cussing, with a 269% increase across all prime-time hours from 2005 to

PTC wants both government to better enforce, and industry to better explain, their respective content standards.

PTC analyzed
a total of 124 programming hours in 2005 and 128 hours in 2010 on ABC,
NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN, the WB (in 2005), and The CW (in 2010).

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.