An advocacy group is calling out Fox Broadcasting for rating an episode of "The Following" as appropriate for children as young as 14.
"The Following," now in its second season, is about an FBI agent trying to catch a serial killer and his cult.
Reviews of the show have described it as gory and violent, and PTC took notice after a young woman's throat was slit in a graphic scene.
The episode aired as early as 8 p.m. Central/Mountain Time and was given a TV-14 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) rating instead of a more appropriate TV-MA (Mature Audience Only) rating.
"Clearly Fox is not even abiding by their own guidelines," says Dan Isett, director of communications and policy for the Parents Television Council.
Isett says most broadcast rating decisions are based on advertising revenue. Many sponsors will refuse to put ads on a show rated "TV-MA," he explains, so there's a "built-in conflict of interest" because the networks assign ratings to their own shows.
"So that's why you don't see things, particularly on broadcasts, that are rated as appropriate only for an adult," Isett advises.
Not only is Fox Broadcasting airing a "fantastically graphic scene," to add insult to injury, says Isett, "they're not even giving parents the information they need."
PTC is contacting sponsors including KFC, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King to hold them publicly accountable for supporting "The Following's" violence.
Isett also says PTC is calling for immediate and comprehensive reform to the content ratings system. This most recent episode of "The Following" underscores just how broken the current system is, he says.