Parents Television Council Denounces CBS's 'Dexter' Plan

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Conservative watchdog group Parents Television Council issued a dispatch denouncing CBS Corp.'s tentative plan to air Showtime content such as "Dexter" on CBS during the writers strike.

"CBS' plan is purely based on corporate greed, not what's good for families or in the public interest," said PTC President Tim Winter. "These Showtime programs contain some of the most explicit content on television, period. Yet CBS has no qualms about putting shows that make heroes of serial killers and revel in sick, graphic violence or those that condone drug use and glorify drug dealers in front of millions of children and families on broadcast television. Despite that CBS and Viacom are now 'separate,' CBS is funneling in super-raunchy Viacom-owned premium cable content onto the CBS broadcast network ... It is also another powerful example of why the rules concerning media consolidation must not be loosened."

[Note: Showtime is actually a wholly owned subsidy of CBS Corp., not Viacom. The PTC caught its error and sent a corrected release].

CBS President and CEO Les Moonves mentioned the plan at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday. He noted that Showtime's serial killer drama "Dexter" was considered a likely contender to lead the charge because the show fits CBS's crime-drama brand (except, of course, that CBS's crime protagonists tend to arrest murderers rather than dismember them).

"Dexter" is winning raves and breaking Showtime ratings records for its current second season. Though the crime drama has pitch black humor and is sporadically gory in a "'CSI'-gone-wild" kind of way, it likely has never been described as "super raunchy."

"The programming will be edited to meet all network television broadcast standards, similar to the way theatrical movies have been edited for broadcast for many years," said a CBS spokesperson when told of the PTC statement.

Continues the PTC: "If CBS goes through with this plan, the PTC will certainly contact every sponsor of the programs."

Thing is, in a sense CBS has already gone through with this plan. Last year the broadcast network aired the pilot for Showtime's "Brotherhood."