Sex on Television

May 14, 1999

How many times have we as parents said there is too much sex on television? Gina Dalfonzo of the Family Research Council reports, you are not alone. The president of NBC has been saying the same thing. And when he says it, it makes you think you need to get your hearing checked. Unfortunately his network is still producing too many shows with promiscuous characters even if he personally thinks there is too much sex on television.

The assumption the networks make is that television cannot be wholesome and successful at the same time. By successful, I mean, that it won't get the ratings the networks needs to attract enough advertisers. But is that really true?

NBC produced "Providence, a new drama that was so clean that some of the critics called it "syrupy" and "sugar shock." Well, don't tell the viewers. "Providence" was able to scoop in both the highest overall Friday night ratings and the highest Friday night ratings for the 18-49 demographic for two weeks in a row.

Want to know a secret? While the critics applaud such shows as "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity," real family shows like "Touched by an Angel" and "Seventh Heaven" quietly out-perform them.

"Diagnosis Murder" starring Dick Van Dyke is a relatively clean show simply because the 73-year-old actor will not allow his producers to add more sex and violence. Often the program appears in the Nielsen top 20 and recently lead CBS to its first Thursday night victory over NBC. The CBS president recently asked, "You think the world knows more 18-year-olds watch ‘Diagnosis Murder' than watch ‘Felicity' or ‘Dawson's Creek'?" Not likely, but it's true.

Unfortunately the media believe that a program cannot be wholesome and successful. But if they doubt it, all they have to do is look at the ratings.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.