Violent FX premiere spurs urgent call for cable choice

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
 | 
Russ Jones (OneNewsNow.com)

Parents Television Council is calling on its members to contact Congress to express the urgent need for a consumer cable-choice solution. The demand is in response to the violent and sexually graphic season premiere of FX's Sons of Anarchy.

Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy, tells Entertainment Weekly he’s proud of what he describes as the “epic absurdity” on the program that “runs right up to that line of being fantastic” that is then connected into “some sense of reality.” The cable network program’s Season 6 kickoff featured an 11-year-old boy committing a school shooting, a simulated rape scene, torture of women, and a man who was drowned in a bathtub of urine.

Parents Television Council, a longtime advocate for cable choice, describes the FX program as one of the “most violent” on television and says it isn’t right that people who deplore such programming have to pay for it. Melissa Henson, PTC’s director of grassroots, says a couple of bills currently in process on Capitol Hill would allow consumers to pick and choose the channels they want.

Henson, Melissa (PTC)“It’s pretty appalling they would show this less than a year after [the school shooting in] Newtown, but it’s even more appalling that we have to pay for it,” she tells OneNewsNow. “If you want to watch CNN or ESPN or the Disney Channel, you have to pay for this content. And when you consider that only six million people tuned in to watch, that means more than a hundred million people out there had to subsidize this content that they probably found offensive and had no interest in watching.”

According to Henson, violence on television gets worse with every passing year. “Over time, viewers become desensitized to it, and so in order to get that same shock reaction, they keep upping the ante with media violence,” she explains. “At some point you have to step back and [ask] How is this affecting our culture?

Cable choice, says PTC, is “the only fair option.” The group is encouraging individuals to take action by urging their elected representatives in Washington, DC, to support cable television á la carte and let the market dictate what programming survives.

In its sixth season, Sons of Anarchy drew more than 8 million viewers and 5.3 million in the coveted 18-49 age group, according to Nielsen. Cable executives report that's the highest single-day total in FX history.

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