FCC looks into racy ABC promo

Nov. 18, 2004 at 3:56 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The Federal Communications Commission will examine an ABC promo for "Desperate Housewives" the aired on "Monday Night Football" and enraged some viewers.

A spokesman for the FCC confirmed the commission had received angry complaints from viewers about the spot. It featured "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan, wearing only a towel -- before she threw it off and jumped into the arms of Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens.

ABC has apologized. The FCC can fine broadcasters for indecent content, but FCC Chairman Michael Powell told CNBC it's too soon to say whether action will be taken against ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

"It will be something we ... will have to look at," said Powell, "but that's far from saying what the result will be."

John G. Johnson Jr., a Washington communications lawyer who represents several TV station owners, told the Los Angeles Times ABC might be trying to draw the FCC into a legal test of how far the commission can go as it cracks down on indecency. He said the network is "testing how far the slippery slope goes before you get into constitutionally protected speech."

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