FCC lets a foul-mouthed ABC and CBS off the hook
Back in April, the networks sued the FCC and asked an appeals court to invalidate the Commission's charges of indecency against NYPD, Early Show and Fox's broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards in 2002 and 2003 on the grounds that the charges were unconstitutional.
ABC got off easy. The NYPD Blue episodes that used the words "dickhead" and "bullshit" were let off the hook because they aired several years ago - before the FCC upped its fines 10x, post-Janet wardrobe malfunction.
The CBS and Fox charges came down to whether the uttering of "fleeting, isolated and in some cases unintentional" profanities was enough to render an entire broadcast indecent.
CBS got off because the indecent utterance in question was heard on a news show. A Survivor contestant interviewed on the Early Show called another contestant a "bullshitter." The FCC chose to exercise restraint in the fining of a news program and found the use of the term "bullshitter" to be "appropriate in this instance."
Fox, on the other hand, got the brunt of the FCC's wrath. On the Fox-broadcasted Billboard Music Awards, Cher said "fuck 'em," and Nicole Richie said, "Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple."
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin (pictured) had his own two cents to add, "Hollywood continues to argue they should be able to say the F-word on television whenever they want. Today, the commission again disagrees." In response, Fox spokesperson Scott Grogin said, "Fuck 'em."
Alright, I couldn't resist that. What he actually said was, "Today's decision highlights our concern about the government's inability to issue consistent, reasoned decisions in highly sensitive First Amendment cases. We look forward to court review, and the clarity we hope it will bring to this area of the law."