Time for follow-ups to some of the post from the last year.
Hopefully this won’t turn into another Jaws, trying to follow on follow-ups with other follow-ups and pointless sequels.
Let’s begin with, guess what, follow-ups to a couple of posts from way back.
In late September, Russian channel 2×2 was facing a criminal investigation following the broadcast of a South Park episode, Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics.
And now an update from ten days ago: the court has dropped the case against the adult cartoon channel.
Now onto a much bigger problem, the FOX v. FCC Supreme Court case dating back to last November:
The case deals with swearing on live TV:
In March of 06, the FCC fined FOX for Cher and Nicole Richie saying “shit” and “fucking” during the 02 & 03 Billboard Music Awards, all due to a “new” FCC policy that allowed penalization even if the expletive is made only once, and live.
The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court and on Tuesday were heard the oral arguments for the case.
I forgot to talk about but finally a decision was reached at the end of last April:
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on April 28, 2009 that the Federal Communications Commission had not acted arbitrarily when it changed a long-standing policy and implemented a new ban on even “fleeting expletives” from the airwaves. Justice Antonin Scalia, in the majority opinion, wrote: “The FCC’s new policy and its order finding the broadcasts at issue actionably indecent were neither arbitrary nor capricious.” In the dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens claimed that this decision was hypocritical given the presence of television commercials for products treating impotence or constipation.
You can read all about the decision over here.
Incidentally, “the Court explicitly declined to decide whether the new rule is constitutional, and sent that issue back to the lower courts for their review.”
So long story short, First Amendment rights are still up in the air.
Speaking of SciFi, given the backlash after the Syfy rebranding announcement earlier this year, there has been in the last month or so a few responses from channel president Dave Howe.
In a very recent TVGuide interview he said:
This wasn’t an option, it was a mandate. We made a commitment to grow into a global lifestyle brand. Sci Fi is a genre; it is like calling a TV network Drama or Sport. The default perception of sci-fi is that it’s space, aliens, the future. It’s Star Trek. The new name positions us as having our own attitude and personality, which gives us permission to do a broader range of sci-fi/fantasy shows and take us into the supernatural, the paranormal, action-adventure and mystery space.
I think it’s been pretty much established, if only by Star Trek‘s very recent success, that the clichéd opinions regarding science-fiction are gone.
We’ve seen pretty weak arguments regarding the brand change…
Broadcasting & Cable also has a piece up detailing Syfy’s upcoming branding strategy, including “Wyfy from Syfy”.
You can as well check out the future Syfy TV spots right here.
Continuing on the SciFi side of things, we have another article on the genre by STLtoday‘s Gail Pennington. Included in it is an interview with Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore.
Moving back to more serious issues, there has been some talk regarding the future of entertainment, and especially the future of broadcast.
TV Week‘s Brian Steinberg had an In Depth article on the conflicting visions of NBC and CBS:
NBC and CBS are at odds about how best to proceed at a time when the future of the business is under serious assault. Is the future of broadcast TV generating big audiences from early morning to late at night? Or is it picking the right spots, focusing instead on syndicating big-ticket programming — the Olympics or a favorite crime procedural — across a multitude of screens in exchange for advertising and other revenue?
It’s a very intriguing and interesting look at two network giants that are actually betting on opposite sides of what the future might be.
Well, that’s all the time we have folks.
Tomorrow is writing day so be sure to tune in.