Episodes from new shows are being reconsidered including CBS's The Agency, a CIA-themed series in which the premiere episode focuses on a failed terrorist attempt. News Corp.'s Fox network also is mulling over a show, 24, which focuses on CIA-like team looking to thwart an assassination attempt on a presidential candidate. The debut episode shows a plane being blown up.
Other new cop/CIA series have somewhat lesser concerns, according to executives. General Electric Co.'s NBC has UC: Undercover, a series about a special undercover cops. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC is debuting Alias, a series in which a female grad student is also a CIA agent.
"I think [the networks] would be very careful to stay away from any program that pushes too close to people in peril or recalls this whole episode," said Mel Berning, executive vice president of national broadcast for Bcom3 Group's MediaVest Worldwide, New York.
Reviewing every episode
An NBC spokeswoman said the network is reviewing every episode of every series to see if any content could be viewed as insensitive to viewers.
A spokesman for Viacom's CBS said the network is looking into how it could change the initial episode of The Agency, as well as whether the episode could be aired later in the season. Fox has said it will not air promos for 24 but that it has not made other decisions about the show.
Ad agency executives don't know what will become of some of these shows -- considering the subject of these series could be too sensitive right now.
"It is too early to tell," said David Marans, senior partner of media research for WPP Group's MindShare USA. "All this is an immediate reaction to these events. [That reaction] might be reshaped by future events."