Censorship / Standards & Practices


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

CENSORSHIP

Conceptions of censorship derive from Roman practice in which two officials were appointed by the government to conduct the census, award public contracts and supervise the manners and morals of the people. Today the scope of censorship has been expanded to include most media and involves suppressing any or all parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military and other grounds.

With regard to television in the United States, censorship usually refers to the exclusion of certain topics, social groups or language from the content of broadcast programming. While censorship has often been constructed against the explicit backdrop of morality, it has been implicitly based on assumptions about the identity and composition of the audience for American broadcast television at particular points in time. Different conceptions of the audience held by broadcasters have been motivated by the economic drive to maximize network profits. At times, the television audience has been constructed as an undifferentiated mass.

During other periods, the audience has been divided into demographically desirable categories. As the definition of the audience has changed over time, so has the boundary between appropriate and inappropriate content. At times, different sets of moral values have often come into conflict with each other and with the economic forces of American broadcasting. The moral limits on content stem from what might be viewed as the social and cultural taboos of specific social groups, particularly concerning religious and sexual topics.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the networks and advertisers measured the viewing audience as an undifferentiated mass. Despite the lumping together of all viewers, broadcasters structured programming content around the "normal," dominant, values of white, middle-class Americans. Therefore, content centered around the concerns of the nuclear family. Topics such as racism or sexuality which had little direct impact on this domestic setting were excluded from content. Indeed, ethnic minorities were excluded, for the most part, from the television screen because they did not fit into the networks' assumptions about the viewing audience. Sexuality was a topic allocated to the private, personal sphere rather than the public arena of network broadcasting. For example, the sexual relationship between Rob and Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show during the mid-1960s could only be implied. When the couple's bedroom was shown, twin beds diffused any explicit connotation that they had a physical relationship. Direct references to non-normative heterosexuality were excluded from programming altogether. In addition, coarse language which described bodily functions and sexual activity or profaned sacred words were excluded from broadcast discourse.

However, conceptions about the viewing audience and the limits of censorship changed drastically during the early 1970s. To a large degree, this shift in censorship came about because techniques for measuring the viewing audience became much more refined at that time. Ratings researchers began to break down the viewing audience for individual programs according to specific demographic characteristics, including age, ethnicity, education and economic background. In this context, the baby boomer generation--younger, better educated, with more disposable income--became the desired target audience for television programming and advertising. Even though baby boomers grew up on television programming of the 1950s and 1960s, their tastes and values were often in marked contrast to that of their middle-class parents. Subjects previously excluded from television began to appear with regularity. All in the Family was the predominant battering ram that broke down the restrictions placed on television content during the preceding twenty years. Frank discussions of sexuality, even outside of traditional heterosexual monogamy, became the focal point of many of the comedy's narratives. The series also introduced issues of ethnicity and bigotry as staples of its content. Constraints on the use of profanity began to crumble as well. Scriptwriters began to pepper dialogue with "damns" and "hells," language not permitted during the more conservative 1950s and 1960s.

While the redefinition of the desirable audience in the early 1970s did expand the parameters of appropriate content for television programming, the new candor prompted reactions from several fronts, and demonstrated larger divisions within social and cultural communities. As early as 1973 the Supreme Court emphasized that community standards vary from place to place: "It is neither realistic nor constitutionally sound to read the First Amendment as requiring that people of Maine or Mississippi accept public depiction of conduct found tolerable in Las Vegas or New York City." Clearly such a ruling leaves it to states or communities to define what is acceptable and what is not, a task which cannot be carried out to everyone's satisfaction. When applying community standards, the courts must decide what the "average person, in the community" finds acceptable or not and some communities are clearly more conservative than others. These standards are particularly difficult to apply to television programming which is produced, for economic reasons, to cross all such regional and social boundaries.

In part as a result of these divisions, however, special interest or advocacy groups began to confront the networks about representations and content that had not been present before 1971. For some social groups which had had very little, if any, visibility during the first twenty years of American broadcast television, the expanding parameters of programming content were a mixed blessing. The inclusion of Hispanics, African-Americans, and gays and lesbians in programming was preferable to their near invisibility during the previous two decades, but advocacy groups often took issue with the framing and stereotyping of the new images. From the contrasting perspective, conservative groups began to oppose the incorporation of topics within content which did not align easily with traditional American values or beliefs. In particular, the American Family Association decried the increasing presentation of non-traditional sexual behavior as acceptable in broadcast programming. Other groups rallied against the increased use of violence in broadcast content. As a result, attempts to define the boundaries of appropriate content has become an ongoing struggle as the networks negotiate their own interests against those of advertisers and various social groups. Whereas censorship in the 1950s and 1960s was based on the presumed standards and tastes of the white middle-class nuclear family, censorship in the 1970s became a process of balancing the often conflicting values of marginal social groups.

The proliferation of cable in the 1980s and the 1990s has only exacerbated the conflicts over programming and censorship. Because of a different mode of distribution and exhibition--often referred to as "narrowcasting--cable television has been able to offer more explicit sexual and violent programming than broadcast television. To compete for the viewing audience that increasing turns to cable television channels, the broadcast networks have loosened restrictions on programming content enabling them to include partial nudity, somewhat more graphic violence and the use of coarse language. This strategy seems to have been partially successful in attracting viewers as evidenced by the popularity of adult dramas such as NYPD Blue. However, this programming approach has opened the networks to further attacks from conservative advocacy groups who have increased the pressure for government regulation, i.e. censorship, of objectionable program content.

As these issues and problems indicate, most Americans, because of cherished First Amendment rights, are extremely sensitive to any forms of censorship. Relative to other countries, however, the United States enjoys remarkable freedom from official monitoring of program content. Negative reactions are often expressed toward imported or foreign programs when they do not reflect indigenous norms and values. "Cutting of scenes" is practiced far more in developing countries than in western countries. And Americans may find it interesting to note that even European countries consider exposure to nudity and sex to be less objectionable than abusive language or violence.

Head et al. (1994) point out that the control of media and media content is also related to the type of government in power within a particular country. They identify four types of governmental philosophy related to the issue of censorship; authoritarian, paternalistic, pluralistic and permissive. Of the four types, the first two are more inclined to exercise censorship because they assume they know what is best for citizens. Anything that challenges this exclusive view must be banned or excluded. Since most broadcasting in such countries is state funded, control is relatively easy to impose. Exclusionary methods include governmental control of broadcast stations' licenses, jamming external broadcasts, promoting indigenous programming, imposing restrictions on imported programs, excluding newspaper articles, cutting scenes from films, shutting down printing presses, etc.

Pluralistic and permissive governments allow for varying degrees of private ownership of broadcasting stations. Such governments assume that citizens will choose what they consider best in a free market where competing media companies offer their products. Such an ideal can only be effective, of course, if the competitors are roughly equal and operate in the interests of the public. To maintain this "balance of ideas" in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established rules which control the formation of media monopolies and require stations to demonstrate they operate in the interests of their audiences' good. Despite such intentions, recent deregulation has disturbed the balance, allowing powerful media conglomerates to dominate the market place and reduce the number of voices heard.

Pluralistic and permissive governments also assume that competing companies will regulate themselves. Perhaps the most well known attempt at self regulation is conducted by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which rates motion pictures for particular audiences. For example, the contents of "G" rated movies are considered suitable for all audiences, "GP" requires parental guidance, "R," "X," and NC17 are considered appropriate for adults. These standards are offered as a guide to audiences and have never been strictly enforced. Parents may take children to see X-rated movies if they so desire.

In the past one of the arguments against censorship has been freedom of choice. Parents who object to offensive television programs can always switch the channel or choose another show. Unfortunately, parental supervision is lacking in many households. In the 1990s this problem, coupled with political and interest group outrage against media producers has opened the possibility of a self imposed television rating system similar to that of the MPAA. To counter conservative criticism and government censorship, producers and the networks have agreed to begin a ratings system which could be electronically monitored and blocked in the home. Thus, parents could effectively censor programming which they found unsuitable for their children while still allowing the networks to air adult-oriented programming.

In the 1970s an early attempt at a similar sort of regulation came when the FCC encouraged the television industry to introduce a "family viewing concept," according to which television networks would agree to delay the showing of adult programs until children were, presumably, no longer among the audience. The National Association of Broadcasters willingly complied with this pressure but in 1979 a court ruled that the NAB's action was a violation of the First Amendment.

In the late 1990s, as networks relaxed corporate restrictions on content in their competition with cable and satellite programming, the early evening hours once again took on special importance. In mid-1996 more than 75 members of the U.S. Congress placed an open letter to the entertainment industry in Daily Variety. The letter called on the creative community and the programmers to provide an hour of programming each evening that was free from sexual innuendo, violence, or otherwise troublesome material. Clearly, the question of censorship in television continues to vex programmers, producers, government officials, and viewers. No immediate solution to the problems involved is apparent.

However, the debate and struggle over censorship of programming will more than likely continue into the next century, as social groups with diverse values vie for increased influence over program content.

-Richard Worringham and Rodney Buxton

 

FURTHER READING

Brown, Les. Television: The Bu$iness Behind the Box. New York: Harvest Book/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971.

Cowan, Geoffrey. See No Evil: the Backstage Battle over Sex and Violence on Television. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Cripps, Thomas. "Amos 'n' Andy and the Debate Over American Racial Integration." In O'Connor, John E., editor. American History/American Television: Interpreting the Video Past. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1985.

Head, Sydney, Christopher Sterling, and Lemuel Schofield. Broadcasting in America: A Survey of Electronic Media. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.7th Edition, Princeton, New Jersey: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Marin, Rick. "Blocking the Box." Newsweek (New York), 11 March 1996.

Montgomery, Kathryn C. Target: Prime Time: Advocacy Groups and the Struggle over Entertainment Television. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Highlights
Agnes Nixon on wanting to write socially relevant stories for soap operas - writing her first cancer story for Guiding Light and getting resistance from sponsor Procter & Gamble
04:48
William Clotworthy on how standards changed from the '70s to '90s
02:18
George Carlin on the origin of his famous routine "Seven Dirty Words"
04:09
Barbara Eden on the "belly button controversy" on I Dream of Jeannie
02:13
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' work with Carnation on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
00:36
Norman Lear on how William Tankersley, then head of Standards & Practices at CBS, fought him over a line on Maude
02:56
Host Bob Eubanks on the true story behind The Newlywed Game urban myth, "in the butt, Bob"
01:44
Alan Alda on about Standards & Practices' objection to the use the word "virgin" in an episode of M*A*S*H
01:16
Who talked about this topic

Andy Ackerman

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Andy Ackerman on censorship on Seinfeld
00:56

Alan Alda

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Alan Alda on about Standards & Practices' objection to the use the word "virgin" in an episode of M*A*S*H
01:16
Alan Alda on the "family hour" concept of the 1970s to censorship
01:38
Alan Alda on the network's objection to the sight of a jock strap on an episode of M*A*S*H
01:48

Steve Allen

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Steve Allen on network involvement with Tonight
01:08
Steve Allen on censorship on The Tonight Show
03:17
Steve Allen on creating Meeting of Minds and running into censorship problems
07:54
Steve Allen on censorship on Meeting of Minds
03:23

James Arness

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James Arness on the amount of violence on Gunsmoke
01:42

Janet Ashikaga

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Editor Janet Ashikaga on whether advertisers and Standards & Practices took issue with "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
02:59

Larry Auerbach

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Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53

Hank Azaria

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Hank Azaria on censorship issues on The Simpsons
01:56

Reza Badiyi

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Reza Badiyi on network interference while directing The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
01:49

Alan Ball

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Alan Ball on censorship issues on True Blood
01:31
Alan Ball on censorship on Cybill and Grace Under Fire
01:23

Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris on censorship on The Newlywed Game and creating the term "making whoopee"
01:52
Chuck Barris on obscene answers on The Newlywed Game
00:42
Chuck Barris on censorship on The Gong Show and the problematic Popsicle Twins
04:00

Anne Beatts

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Anne Beatts on a Saturday Night Live sketch about Patty Hearst (with guest host Lily Tomlin) that was objected to by Standards and Practices
00:40
Anne Beatts on two Saturday Night Live sketches that had Standards and Practices issues— a Jesus sketch and a "Nerds" Christmas pageant sketch
03:24
Anne Beatts on Standards and Practices' concerns over slang expressions on Saturday Night Live
00:40

William Bell

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William Bell on NBC executives trusting him with storylines on Days of Our Lives
02:39

Shelley Berman

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Shelley Berman on coming up with new material for his 22 Ed Sullivan Show performances and on dealing with censors on live television
06:22

Steven Bochco

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Steven Bochco on negotiating how much language and nudity could appear on his series NYPD Blue
03:59
Steven Bochco on "pushing the envelope" on NYPD Blue
01:15
Steven Bochco on pushing the boundaries on NYPD Blue and the negotiating it entailed
08:02

Paul Bogart

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Paul Bogart on fighting Standards and Practices
02:50
Paul Bogart on fighting Standards and Practices on The Defenders
01:49
Paul Bogart on directing the All in the Family episode "The Draft Dodger" (airdate: December 25, 1976)
02:39

Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain on the impact of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, the end of the show, and moving to CNN
03:54

Kevin Bright

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Kevin Bright on an objection from executive Don Ohlmeyer to "Monica" sleeping with her date on the first episode of Friends
00:52

Bernie Brillstein

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Bernie Brillstein on censorship Lorne Michaels faced on Saturday Night Live
01:47

Alton Brown

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Alton Brown on one scene Food Network asked him to remove from Good Eats
01:17

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on running the story idea of "Mary Richards" being divorced on The Mary Tyler Moore Show by CBS (response - American audiences won't tolerate 4 things on TV: people from New York, divorce, Jews, and mustaches)
07:49
Allan Burns on placing the main setting of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in a newsroom and "Mary Richards" not being a married woman
04:58

Ken Burns

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Ken Burns on producing the WWII documentary The War: A Ken Burns Film
07:38

James Burrows

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James Burrows on NBC Executives being concerned about Cheers being set in a bar
01:46
James Burrows on Standards and Practices having issues with some jokes on Will & Grace
03:18

Sid Caesar

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Sid Caesar on standards and practices in 1950s TV 
00:54

Vince Calandra

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Vince Calandra on controversy over a Rolling Stones performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
01:54
Vince Calandra on controversy over Jim Morrison not changing his lyrics for a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show
00:48

George Carlin

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George Carlin on the origin of his famous routine "Seven Dirty Words"
04:09
George Carlin on the material he was forced to censor when appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show
03:29

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Glenn Gordon Caron on tricks he used on Moonlighting to try to get around the censors; on how you can't say "frig" on television
03:02

Nancy Cartwright

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Nancy Cartwright on Sam Simon and James L. Brooks not allowing the network to interfere with scripts
01:15

Dick Cavett

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Dick Cavett on interviewing John Lennon and Yoko Ono and problems with the network
02:54

Richard Chamberlain

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Richard Chamberlain on dealing with taboo subjects on Shogun
01:34

Glen Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on dealings with the network and Standards and Practices on Taxi
00:58

Les Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on dealings with the network and Standards and Practices on Taxi
00:58

Ron Clark

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Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
02:19
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  tackling current events and the language on the show
05:13

William Clotworthy

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William Clotworthy on language he was allowed to use in an episode of General Electric Theater that he wrote, dealing with therapeutic abortion
03:04
William Clotworthy on joining Standards & Practices at NBC
07:58
William Clotworthy on the importance of context for Standards and Practices; on censorship on Saturday Night Live
28:12
William Clotworthy on his style as a Standards Executive for Saturday Night Live
00:56
William Clotworthy on how standards changed from the '70s to '90s
02:18

Shelley Berman with Emerson College

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Shelley Berman on creatives ways comedians used to get around language or subject restrictions in the early days of television, and on Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "nipplegate"
10:51
Shelley Berman on the importance in comedy of the audience relating to the comedian, and on the evolution of comedy in terms of explicit language
07:07

Hugh Hefner with Emerson College

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Hugh Hefner on the then-current state of censorship in media, and on the government's role
07:06

Bill Dana with Emerson College

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Bill Dana on evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy
04:47

Henry Colman

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Henry Colman on an incident early in his career when he was working on The Colgate Comedy Hour (Jimmy Durante)
01:06

Hal Cooper

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Hal Cooper on censorship issues on I Dream of Jeannie and in his career
03:49

Ken Corday

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Ken Corday on censorship on Days of Our Lives
01:32

Fred de Cordova

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Fred de Cordova on issues with standards and practices on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:21

Pierre Cossette

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Pierre Cossette on dealing with Standards and Practices with The Grammys  and how the show has changed over the years
02:48

Walter Cronkite

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Walter Cronkite on the question of whether he found it difficult to report the news during the Quiz Show scandals and the Watergate scandal; how Richard (Dick) Salant negotiated a compromise between the network and the White House
03:01

Michael Dann

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Michael Dann on being ordered by Program Practices to intervene with The Smothers Brothers
01:48
Michael Dann on taking The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour off the air
02:31
Michael Dann on Herbert Brodkin not being censored on The Defenders
00:33

Richard Dawson

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Richard Dawson on censorship on The New Dick Van Dyke Show
06:28

Milton Delugg

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Bandleader Milton Delugg on the censorship issues on The Gong Show
02:31

Sam Denoff

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Sam Denoff on interference from censors on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:14

Phil Donahue

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Phil Donahue on how syndication allowed him to cover more controversial topics than if he aired as a network owned show
02:51
Phil Donahue on the controversial topics covered on Donahue and complaints by individual stations
04:35
Phil Donahue on not believing in censorship
01:03

Mike Douglas

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Mike Doulgas on the CBS censor on the early days of The Mike Douglas Show
01:31

Hugh Downs

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Hugh Downs on Jack Paar's famous walk out on The Tonight Show on February 11, 1960 and the censored joke that provoked it
07:18

Dick Ebersol

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Dick Ebersol on censorship issues on Saturday Night Live
05:21

Barbara Eden

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Barbara Eden on the "belly button controversy" on I Dream of Jeannie
02:13

Ralph Edwards

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Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences
02:17

Bob Eubanks

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Host Bob Eubanks on the origin of The Newlywed Game's euphemism "makin' whoopee"
01:05
Host Bob Eubanks on the true story behind The Newlywed Game urban myth, "in the butt, Bob"
01:44

Jeff Fager

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Jeff Fager on resistance from the network on CBS Evening News reporting on certain stories, with the example of a story about Palestinian refugee camps
01:53
Jeff Fager on a conflict between then-CEO of CBS Laurence Tisch and 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt over the story of tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Winger, who alleged that the tobacco industry knew the addictive and deadly nature of cigarettes
04:02
Jeff Fager on network input into 60 Minutes stories
00:56

Jamie Farr

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show
02:08
Jamie Farr on memorable episodes of The Gong Show with Jaye P. Morgan
01:35

Norman Felton

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Norman Felton on his experiences with sponsor censorship on Robert Montgomery Presents  
02:32
Norman Felton on censorship on Playhouse 90's "Judgment at Nuremberg"
03:06

Dorothy Fontana

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Dorothy Fontana on the minimal censorship issues on Star Trek
00:40

Tom Fontana

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Tom Fontana on dealing with censorship issues and the head of Broadcast Standards at NBC during his time on Homicide: Life on the Street
03:14
Tom Fontana on writing Oz  with no network censorship 
01:26

Richard Frank

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Richard Frank on the ever-changing landscape of television and dealing with Standards and Practices
03:03

Tom Freston

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Tom Freston on MTV's Standards & Practices
02:20

Gerald Fried

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Gerald Fried on censorship in his music
00:44

Chuck Fries

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Chuck Fries on how television changed during his career regarding censorship of content
04:16

Greg Garrison

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Greg Garrison on dealing with the network and Standards & Practices on The Dean Martin Show
03:15

Mitzi Gaynor

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Mitzi Gaynor on her final television special, Mitzi... What's Hot, What's Not and dealing with censors
01:32

Larry Gelbart

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Larry Gelbart on the differences between television in the UK versus the US in the '60s
01:45
Larry Gelbart on balancing CBS's concerns and censorship issues on M*A*S*H ; specifically with the "virgin" episode 
01:54
Larry Gelbart on an infamous script written by Stanley Ralph Ross that was the only one to get rejected by CBS in the entire run of M*A*S*H
00:44

Vince Gilligan

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Vince Gilligan on his interaction with Standards & Practices and what he was able to show on The X-Files versus Breaking Bad - he couldn't show a gun held to a head during a game of Russian Roulette

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on issues with Standards & Practices and complaints from the lead actresses on Charlie's Angels
02:09
Leonard Goldberg on censorship issues on Charlie's Angels
01:16
Leonard Goldberg on fighting Standards & Practices on the incest in the TV movie Something About Amelia
03:14

Larry Hagman

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Larry Hagman on the "navel" controversy on I Dream of Jeannie
01:37

Skitch Henderson

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Lyle "Skitch" Henderson on the popularity of Steve Allen's Tonight, and on network interference or censorship with the show
05:28

Winifred Hervey

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Winifred Hervey on censorship on The Golden Girls
01:06

Arthur Hiller

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Arthur Hiller on the list of "don't dos" they had from the sponsors and the network on NBC Matinee Theater, and a near-controversy when he cast an African American actor as a doctor
01:41

Felicity Huffman

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Felicity Huffman on ABC's hands-off approach to American Crime
00:46

Al Jean

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Al Jean on broadcast standards and The Simpsons
02:54

Robert Justman

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Associate producer Robert Justman on notes from Standards & Practices for Star Trek
01:41

Irma Kalish

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Irma and Rocky Kalish on the origin of The Flying Nun as a jewish girl; but the network said they couldn't use the word Jewish
01:44

Rocky Kalish

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Irma and Rocky Kalish on the origin of The Flying Nun as a jewish girl; but the network said they couldn't use the word Jewish
01:44

H. Wesley Kenney

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H. Wesley Kenney on controversial Days of Our Lives storylines and dealing with Standards and Practices
03:37

Michael Patrick King

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Michael Patrick King on the lack of censorship on Sex and the City
02:02

Sid Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on problems with Standards & Practices on H.R. Pufnstuf
04:31

Marty Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on problems with Standards & Practices on H.R. Pufnstuf
04:31

Jack LaLanne

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Jack LaLanne on censorship on The Jack LaLanne Show and words he could not say; on how standards have changed over the years
02:11

Mort Lachman

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Mort Lachman on writing for network shows, like the Bob Hope Specials , and the restrictions from the network S&P

Lucy Lawless

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Lucy Lawless on censorship of Xena: Warrior Princess
02:07
Lucy Lawless on the action scenes and censorship of Spartacus
05:13

Norman Lear

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Norman Lear on how William Tankersley, then head of Standards & Practices at CBS, fought him over a line on Maude
02:56

Jim Lehrer

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Jim Lehrer on drafting a new code of Standards and Practices for PBS news
02:49

Sheldon Leonard

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The Dick Van Dyke Show producer Sheldon Leonard on the network rules regarding separate beds and Mary Tyler Moore's capri pants
01:05

Jerry Lewis

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Jerry Lewis on creative control on The Colgate Comedy Hour
00:57

Hal Linden

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Hal Linden on dealing with Standards & Practices on Barney Miller
03:55

William Link

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William Link on writing and producing That Certain Summer
07:55

Barry Livingston

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Barry Livingston on a My Three Sons storyline that co-worker Don Grady disagreed with - separate beds for his married character and his wife
01:50
Barry Livingston on censorship issues with cursing on My Three Sons
00:59

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on how Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl changed things on Two and Half Men; on dealing with censorship
01:57

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus on there not being censorship issues in "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
00:35

Bob Mackie

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Bob Mackie on censorship of designs
03:25

Loring Mandel

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Lorning Mandel on dealing with censorship in his career on the CBS Playhouse episode "Shadow Game"
01:11

Delbert Mann

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Delbert Mann on sponsor interference on Tad Mosel's "The Haven" production on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
01:00

Garry Marshall

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Garry Marshall on Jack Paar walking off the set of the Tonight show in 1960
00:20
Garry Marshall on network censorship experienced writing the I Spy episode "No Exchange on Damaged Merchandise" (airdate: November 10, 1965)
02:04
Garry Marshall on network censorship on Happy Days
02:04

Dick Martin

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Dick Martin on dealing with the censors on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
04:38

Richard Matheson

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On being censored from using the word "God" in his scripts on The Twilight Zone, despite the fact that Rod Serling did in his scripts
00:42

S. Epatha Merkerson

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S. Epatha Merkerson on censorship on Law & Order
01:19

Burt Metcalfe

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Burt Metcalfe on CBS's edicts about showing blood in M*A*S*H
02:07

David Milch

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David Milch on dealing with the network on NYPD Blue
03:51
David Milch on network interference with NYPD Blue
01:20

John Moffitt

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John Moffitt on censorship of The Rolling Stones on The Ed Sullivan Show
01:25

Mary Tyler Moore

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Mary Tyler Moore on restrictions including the objection to her wearing pants on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:14
Mary Tyler Moore on CBS refusing to allow her character to be a divorcee on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:20

Tad Mosel

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Tad Mosel on dealing with network censorship on an NBC adaptation of All the Way Home
01:55

Robert Mott

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Robert Mott on sound effects that couldn't be used on television 
08:42

Michael Moye

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Michael Moye on network notes on The Jeffersons
01:59
Michael Moye on the pilot, initial testing, and network notes for Married...With Children
08:09
Michael Moye on "the Rakolta incident" (so called because a woman named Terry Rakolta complained about content on Married...With Children) and FOX withholding fan mail; on subsequent problems with the network
14:01
Michael Moye on "the lost episode" ("The Camping Episode") of Married...With Children
07:29
Michael Moye on the second "lost episode" of Married...With Children
03:50
Michael Moye on FOX's reaction to his proposed spin-off and leaving Married...With Children
08:41

Jonathan Murray

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Jonathan Murray on censorship on The Real World
02:06

Laraine Newman

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Laraine Newman on the on-air personas of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live  and dealing with NBC Standards and Practices 
03:08

Agnes Nixon

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Agnes Nixon on wanting to write socially relevant stories for soap operas - writing her first cancer story for Guiding Light and getting resistance from sponsor Procter & Gamble
04:48

Bill Nye

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Bill Nye on censorship on the program - the evolution episode and other run-ins with studio executives
00:50

Ed O'Neill

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Ed O'Neill on censorship issues on Married...With Children and the Terry Rakolta campaign
02:06

Bernie Orenstein

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Bernie Orenstein on issues with Standards and Practices on Sanford and Son
00:43

Marty Pasetta

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Marty Pasetta on directing the controversial final season of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:10

Frederick S. Pierce

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Frederick S. Pierce on his relationship with ABC Standards and Practices 
02:16

Jeff Probst

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Jeff Probst on hosting The Jeff Probst Show
11:22

Carl Reiner

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Carl Reiner on censorship on Caesar's Hour
00:54
Carl Reiner on problems from Standards & Practices regarding an episode of The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which the daughter walks in on her parents making love
03:27
Carl Reiner on difficulty from Standards & Practices regarding an episode of The New Dick Van Dyke Show about a daughter who walks in on her parents making love
02:01

John Rich

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John Rich on problems with Standards & Practices on All in the Family
03:23

Joan Rivers

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Joan Rivers on dealing with censorship on television
02:00

Jay Sandrich

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Jay Sandrich on dealing with network interference on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:48

Bob Schiller

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on network interference on Maude
01:04

Alfred Schneider

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Alfred Schneider on the establishment of the Television Code and its contents
05:58
Alfred Schneider on working in Standards & Practices at ABC
03:11
Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest
01:52
Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After
01:24
Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in The Winds of War
00:43
Alfred Schneider on a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") and how it led to further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
04:13
Alfred Schneider on the difference between how news and entertainment are handled in terms of censorship
02:31
Alfred Schneider on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics
03:03
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
01:34
Alfred Schneider on the power of advertisers in decisions made by Standards & Practices
02:19
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
01:43
Alfred Schneider on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns about portrayals of certain groups and depictions of controversial topics on television
02:15
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
01:55
Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller
01:10
Alfred Schneider on working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling
02:48
Alfred Schneider on how and why portrayals of sexuality and other controversial topics have become more acceptable over time on television
01:49
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content
01:29
Alfred Schneider on the criticism he received over the course of his career and being the "conscience of the company"
01:19

Ralph Senensky

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Ralph Senensky on censorship when directing Breaking Point and "The Bull Roarer" episode in which a young man thinks he might be gay
02:27

Paul Shaffer

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Paul Shaffer on becoming a castmember on Saturday Night Live and accidentally swearing during a live broadcast
05:24

Richard Shapiro

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
02:19

Esther Shapiro

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
02:19

Mel Shavelson

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Mel Shavelson on writing around NBC standards and practices for Bob Hope
03:02
Mel Shavelson on censorship on Bob Hope's radio show
01:28

Sidney Sheldon

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Sidney Sheldon on the lack of network interference when he was working in TV versus what he sees in the industry today (2000); on the status of the business
04:02

Fred Silverman

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Fred Silverman on M*A*S*H  and how Standards and Practices reacted to the show, and how the concerns differed from those directed at All In The Family
01:02
Fred Silverman on the "family hour" rule, which drove shows like Maude out of the 8:00 PM hour, and on its disruptive effect on the networks' scheduling
02:03
Fred Silverman on Soap causing as much controversy at ABC as All in the Family had caused at CBS
01:00

Sam Simon

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Sam Simon on censorship issues on The Simpsons
04:36

G.E. Smith

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G.E. Smith on the infamous Sinead O'Connor "Pope ripping" incident on Saturday Night Live
02:00

Yeardley Smith

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Yeardley Smith on censorship issues (or the lack thereof) on The Simpsons
02:45

Dick Smothers

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Tom and Dick Smothers on some of the confrontations they had with CBS and unions regarding the material on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
05:45
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
03:23
Tom and Dick Smothers on some censored portions of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:12
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:13
Tom and Dick Smothers on the free speech of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:09

Tom Smothers

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On some of the confrontations they had with CBS and unions regarding the material on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
05:45
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
03:23
Tom and Dick Smothers on some censored portions of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:12
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:13
Tom and Dick Smothers on the free speech of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:09

Aaron Spelling

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Aaron Spelling on network interference when writing for Sammy Davis, Jr. on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
03:03
Aaron Spelling on fighting the network to get storylines on Dynasty
01:54
Aaron Spelling on creating one of TV's first regular gay characters on Dynasty
01:07

Frank Stanton

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Frank Stanton on his relationship with Senator John O. Pastore, and dealing with censorship
04:58

Darren Star

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Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33

Johnny Stearns

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Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns on incorporating Mary Kay's pregnancy into Mary Kay and Johnny; on what they could and couldn't say on the show
03:02

Mary Kay Stearns

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Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns on incorporating Mary Kay's pregnancy into Mary Kay and Johnny; on what they could and couldn't say on the show
03:02

Jeremy Stevens

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Jeremy Stevens on Charles Rocket saying an expletive live on the air on Saturday Night Live
02:20

Bob Stewart

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Bob Stewart on the Quiz Show Scandals and how it affected game show producers
04:49

Howard Storm

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Howard Storm on Standards and Practices on Mork and Mindy and "bullpucky"

George Sunga

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George Sunga on CBS's reaction to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:15
George Sunga on Harry Belafonte's controversial performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
01:24
George Sunga on diversity and discrimination in television
07:08

George Takei

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George Takei on co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)
05:43

William Tankersley

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William Tankersley on how CBS Program Practices handled pregnancy storylines on TV shows in the 1950s
01:00
William Tankersley on becoming the Director of Program Practices at CBS Television City
01:34
William Tankersley on his process as Director of Program Practices at CBS Television City
02:52
William Tankersley on Frank Stanton and William Paley's input on Program Practices at CBS Television City
02:57
William Tankersley on Program Practices' involvement with table reads
01:05
William Tankersley on instances when shows went against the advice of CBS Program Practices
01:30
William Tankersley on how CBS Program Practices handled personal hygiene commercials and storylines on TV shows in the 1950s and '60s
01:12
William Tankersley on how CBS Program Practices handled Civil Rights storylines on TV shows in the 1950s
02:04
William Tankersley on Washington D.C.'s interest in violence on television and dealing with an AFTRA strike
03:59
William Tankersley on how CBS Program Practices handled religious storylines on TV shows in the 1950s
03:43
William Tankersley on how CBS Program Practices handled storylines involving drugs on TV shows in the 1960s
01:34
William Tankersley on CBS' expected limitations of violence on television
07:04
William Tankersley on CBS' guidelines for current affairs and politics on TV in the 1950s
01:35
William Tankersley on his involvement with the CBS loyalty oath and the Hollywood Blacklist
04:59
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices not having many issues with daytime soap operas
02:01
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices having issues with shows paying for commercial plugs
03:16
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' workings with early TV sponsors
03:05
William Tankersley on how the Quiz Show scandals (which started with NBC shows) affected CBS Standards & Practices
04:29
William Tankersley on being promoted to Vice President of Program Practices at CBS and dealing with advertisers
02:10
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' problems with advertisers' competitive complaints and false advertising
05:43
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' workings with Playhouse 90 and The Twilight Zone
06:02
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' problems with The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
06:00
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices' interactions with news programs 
02:35
William Tankersley on CBS Standards & Practices work with Norman Lear on All In The Family, (contd.)
06:13

Tony Thomas

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Tony Thomas on dealing with Standards and Practices regarding Soap
00:49
Tony Thomas on battles with Standards and Practices over The Golden Girls
00:59

Marlo Thomas

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Marlo Thomas on ABC wanting to change things in That Girl
01:01
Marlo Thomas on the rules for sexuality on That Girl
02:13
Marlo Thomas on bringing Free to be... You and Me to television and issues of censorship with "William Wants a Doll"
02:14

Stanford Tischler

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Stanford Tischler on censorship issues on M*A*S*H and how decades earlier in the 1950s the word "condominium" was deleted from a script
00:55

Ret Turner

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Ret Turner on how network Standards and Practices affected his wardrobe decisions
03:20

Tony Verna

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Tony Verna on censorship issues with live television
02:24

Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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Malcolm-Jamal Warner on dealing with Standards and Practices on The Cosby Show
02:11

Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans on dealing with censorship on In Living Color and getting around the censors
02:42
Keenen Ivory Wayans on the lost "Colt 45" sketch parodying Billy Dee Williams on In Living Color and on censors
08:39

Bob Weiskopf

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Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf on network interference on Maude
01:04

Dawn Wells

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Dawn Wells on proper attire and behavior for the characters on Gilligan's Island according to Standards & Practices
00:40

Tucker Wiard

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Tucker Wiard on dealing with network interference and censorship
00:52

Fred Willard

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Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night  "going too far"
03:56

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on standards and practices notes for The PJs, and on leaving the show after it switched networks
03:41

Ethel Winant

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Ethel Winant on Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49

David L. Wolper

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David Wolper on fighting for key scenes in Roots
02:15

Frederic Ziv

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Frederic Ziv on standards he used for the content of his programs
01:26

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