If you've watched any of the so-called "family comedies" on the broadcast networks lately and noticed that the content has gotten pretty racy, you would be correct – and new research backs that up.
Parents Television Council researched more than 300 family-themed sitcoms in the last two seasons on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the CW. PTC president Tim Winter reveals that, according to the findings, "81.5 percent of all family-situation comedies have adults talking about sexually explicit situations in front of the children on the show."
According to PTC's new study, "Lewd By Example," the worst offender was NBC's A.P. Bio – and next worse, in order, were The Mick (Fox), American Housewife (ABC), Life in Pieces (CBS), and Family Guy (Fox). (Editor's note: The Mick was cancelled after only two seasons.)
Winter says the research also points to the need for the TV Content Ratings System to be overhauled. He explains that network executives who rate the shows often rate them inaccurately for selfish reasons.
"They know that if it's rated accurately, a lot of parents will stay clear," says the PTC president. "They also know that if they rate it as appropriate for mature audiences, the advertisers won't sponsor the show either." Winter says many of the shows that are rated as appropriate for children often are not even safe for families to watch.
The ratings system, he adds, is supposed to "protect" children by giving parents control over explicit, age-inappropriate content – but it's "an abject failure," he concludes.
Winter shares another takeaway from the study:
"Isn't it ironic that the week that the Parents Television Council releases this research report, the CEO of CBS – Leslie Moonves – gets fired because of his sexual improprieties there in the workplace; and it is that very same conduct that we're being entertained by and asked to laugh at on these very same shows."