The Parents Television Council, in response to the CW's decision to bar advance screenings of the show's premiere episode, has contacted advertisers to warn them and ask them not to support the show without a prescreening.
Ready to spank 'Gossip Girl'
According to the PTC, the content of the network's current cult enterprise, "Gossip Girl," and that show's track record of "glamorized drug and alcohol use along with casual teen sex, including threesomes" was reason enough to be concerned with the '90s reincarnation.
"No reputable advertiser should even consider sponsoring the show without viewing the content in advance," PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement. "CW's cowardly decision heightens the need for advertisers to be responsible corporate citizens who carefully evaluate their media buys and ensure that the content they subsidize lines up with their corporate ideals."
The PTC contacted 136 national and high-presence advertisers, including GM, Burger King, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart, according to Glen Erickson, PTC's director of corporate relations.
The PTC and the CW have been sparring in recent months. The advocacy organization took issue with the network's popular "Gossip Girl," making note of the program's depictions of teens indulging in sexual situations and drug use. In a recent ad campaign designed to get people ready for the second season of "Gossip Girl," the CW made use of one of the PTC's descriptions of the program ("Mind-blowingly inappropriate!"), suggesting that the group's disapproval was actually a good reason to watch the show.
The last time that the PTC publicly protested a network show was CBS's early 2008 broadcast premiere of "Dexter." They have also taken issue with NBC's "Fear Itself" and FX's now-defunct "Dirt," as well as another controversial CBS series, "Swingtown." That last program, focused on Midwestern families grappling with some of the new sexual freedoms of the mid-1970s, has had trouble attracting advertisers.
The CW responded to the PTC in a statement, saying that "withholding the advance screener for '90210' has nothing to do with content concerns and everything to do with strategic marketing for the most anticipated new show of the fall season. '90210' has had strong demand and enthusiastic support from the advertising community since the moment the applause ceased at our 2008 upfront presentation."