Missouri NBC Affiliate Pulls 'Fear Factor'
Wed, Jan 8, 2003 05:01 PM PDT
by Rick Porter Zap2it, TV News
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - An NBC affiliate in Missouri pre-empted Monday's (Jan. 6) episode of "Fear Factor," in which contestants were asked to eata piece of horse rectum.
Mike Scott, president and general manager of KYTV in Springfield, Mo., says the decision was made Monday. He acknowledges that the stunt show regularly pushes the envelope of good taste, but the horse-rectum stunt "seemed over the line."
"I don't look at it as censorship," Scott tells Zap2it. "Our station has an image that we try to develop in the community, and this didn't fit with what we want to portray." Scott also says he thought the episode should have carried a stronger rating than the TV-PG it was assigned.
KYTV made the decision to pull the episode Monday. Because of the abbreviated time the station had to find replacement programming, Scott says, reruns of old shows "Dragnet" and "McHale's Navy" ended up running in its place.
Scott says he notified NBC of the decision, and the network didn't object. The station's affiliate contract allows it to pre-empt programming it deems unsuitable, Scott says.
Viewers seem to agree with the decision. As of Wednesday (Jan. 8), response to KYTV was running about 60-40 in favor, Scott says. In hindsight, however, he says he might have aired the episode in late night so viewers would at least have some chance to see it.
NBC has no comment on the matter.
Springfield is a city of about 150,000 in southern Missouri. KYTV serves about 400,000 households in the country's 73rd-largest TV market.
KYTV's removal of the show didn't have much effect on the national ratings. "Fear Factor" had its best performance since March 2002, drawing 15.1 million viewers.