February 17, 1995

Network Programmers Flesh Out The Naked Truth

Richard Huff New York Daily News
 

Despite what appears to be an increase in naked body parts on TV, the heads of the four network entertainment divisions say they don’t think they’ve created any new boundaries.

Asked about sex on TV and the recent unveiling of a young woman’s breasts on CBS’ “Chicago Hope,” CBS Entertainment President Peter Tortorici told attendees at an International Radio and Television Society gathering Friday that viewers tuning into a 10 p.m. drama have “a presence of mind” to know what they are going to get.

Tortorici said the specific “Hope” scene, which dealt with breast cancer, “wasn’t put there for ratings purposes or to be exploitive.”

Both Tortorici and NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield were asked by ABC Entertainment President Ted Harbert, whose network airs advisories before all “NYPD Blue” telecasts, why they don’t include similar advisories for shows with nudity?

Neither answered directly, but Tortorici responded by asking when do such advisories become promotional tools? Littlefield said it wasn’t NBC’s policy to promote the fact that a show includes some nudity. Basically, said Littlefield, “We’re trying to put the strongest, most compelling dramas on the air.”

Littlefield also pointed out that NBC aired a scene similar to the “Chicago Hope” one on “St. Elsewhere” nine years ago. With that in mind, he summed up, “I don’t think we’ve pushed the envelope here, I don’t think we’ve pushed any boundaries.”

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