If the Forum is truly dedicated to getting family-friendly programs on the air, it must do more than toss in $50,000 from a development fund. The pilots have to be monitored all the way through production, and the group must be willing to exercise more control.
Fearing charges of censorship, the group does not wield the considerable clout of its 40-strong members to meddle in scripts. But the alternative can also be damaging, as the group proved by aligning itself with the sex-charged series. As recently as June, the Forum proudly touted "Father of the Pride" as a show "families can enjoy watching together."
The Forum has stated that NBC came to the group in August, noted the change in direction and offered its money back. By then, the show's tone was common knowledge to any Olympics viewer with the oft-repeated promo of the animated main character shouting lasciviously "It's mountin' time."
It will be interesting now to see if Forum members, among them Wendy's International, Gillette Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., continue to advertise individually on a program they have washed their hands of as a group.
But to create an organization-particularly one stocked with advertising heavy hitters that control so much money that supports network TV-without teeth is a waste of time. It must at the very least mandate that shows carry a Forum logo and create a mechanism to remove the endorsement-and publicize that-If a show no longer meets its standards. Follow through is needed for the Forum to regain its pride.