Wednesday, April 04, 2012

TV Guide Report: Does Anyone Care About TV's Content Ratings?

MPAA film ratings still cause controversy ("Bully") -- but does anyone notice or care about TV's content ratings? My report from this week's TV Guide magazine:

Those big, clunky on-screen bugs pop up for a few seconds at the start of every TV show, often serving up a hefty dose of alphabet soup: TV-MA-L for South Park, TV-PG-L for Celebrity Apprentice, TV-PG-DL for GCB and TV-14-D-L-S-V for Bones. But if you're like most TV viewers, you probably pay no attention to TV's content ratings system, or even know what those letters stand for.

It's been 15 years since the broadcast and cable networks launched TV's parental guidance ratings system under heavy pressure from the government and special interest groups. The ratings themselves were "voluntary," but came after the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act required all TV sets to include a "V-Chip" device that could block out programming unsuitable for children.

"I still stand by and support the concept of the ratings," says The Hub president/CEO Margaret Loesch, who was a part of the task force that created the ratings. "Having said that, I think the language on TV has evolved and changed, and I don't know that our ratings quite know what to do with that."

Read more here.

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