Late last week the Parents Television Council (PTC) announced that all but two of the top ten TV shows during the 2011-2012 season were family friendly.
According to the PTC, this demonstrates that the vast majority of TV viewers are turned off by the “edgy” content that many in the entertainment industry value.
Eight of the top ten shows last season were “devoid of sex and profanity,” and most also lacked “violent content; and even on those shows which do contain some, the violence is notably more restrained than on other action-based dramas,” the PTC said in their announcement.
The top ten shows during the 2011-2012 season, according to the Washington Post (the same source the PTC used), were (in order): “NBC Sunday Night Football.” “American Idol” performance show, “NCIS.” “American Idol” results show, “Dancing With the Stars” performance show, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Dancing With the Stars” results show, “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Voice,” and “Two and a Half Men.”
So which shows didn’t make the family friendly list? You might be able to make a pretty good guess.
Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education, Parents Television Council, told Consumer Press that “Two and a Half Men” and “Big Bang Theory” were the ones that didn’t make the cut.
The reason? “The high level of sexual innuendo in both series.”
Henson went on to tell us that “There are other shows on the list that we have never recommended for family viewing (we give them cautionary ‘yellow light’ ratings because of some violence, profanity, or sexual content), but we are aware of their immense popularity with many families.”
Henson said that the nature of family programming on television has changed substantially over the years. “Most of the shows on the [top 10] list are reality or talent competitions. That’s a big shift. The networks are really not producing scripted family-friendly programming anymore the way they used to. Even family comedies like ‘The Middle’ and ‘Modern Family’ try too often to be edgy (as with the episode of ‘Modern Family’ earlier this season where they had a four-year-old girl repeatedly using a bleeped expletive). Ten to fifteen years ago there were still programs like 7th Heaven, Sister Sister, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and other genuinely family-friendly scripted series on television. That, unfortunately, is no longer the case.”
The PTC maintains a Family Guide to Primetime Television on their site in which they rate shows based on sex, violence, and foul language. Henson said that if a program contains some of these elements “it would not be immediately disqualified if it is contextually appropriate and used in moderation in service of a moral or lesson.”
Unfortunately, their current guide is slightly outdated, the last rating chart is for shows on May 24. Perhaps it will be updated later today – we’ll let you know.