ABC's Problem Child: Adam Lambert

American Music Awards Performance Sparks Complaints

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ABC has fielded some angry calls about the performance by recent "American Idol" Adam Lambert during its broadcast of the "American Music Awards" Sunday night.

Adam Lambert performing at the American Music Awards.
Adam Lambert performing at the American Music Awards. Credit: ABC
An ABC spokesman said the Walt Disney network "did receive a number of complaints" about the show, but did not elaborate. ABC said it received approximately 1,500 complaints. One person familiar with the situation said ABC gets more complaints from viewers over broadcasts of "Dancing with the Stars."

In a prepared statement, Dick Clark Productions, which produces the awards, said, "Due to the live nature of the show , we did not expect the impromptu moment in question." During a performance of the song, "For Your Entertainment" on the program, Mr. Lambert kissed a male dancer on the mouth, and simulated oral sex with another male dancer.

Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, this year's broadcast of the "American Music Awards" generated big ratings numbers. Citing preliminary ratings reports, ABC said about 14.2 million people watched the program, two million more than last year. The network said the Awards "attracted its largest audience since 2002 and its highest adult 18-49 number since 2004."

The Parents Television Council, a conservative watchdog organization, said it was asking its members to contact ABC, Dick Clark Productions and the show's advertisers. In cases where the Lambert material aired before 10 p.m., the PTC said it was asking members to contact the Federal Communications Commission.

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