Scandal! Ten Examples of Religious Groups Freaking Out Over TV Shows

Earlier this week, Matt wrote about how the Mormon-owned KSL-TV NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City will refuse to air “Playboy Club” when it premieres in the fall. It’s either because they really hated Amber Heard in Drive Angry or, more likely, they believe they’re too pure to be associated with the Playboy brand.

But this isn’t the first time a religious group has gotten righteous and holier-than-thou over a TV show, and it certainly won’t be the last. Click through for ten other examples of TV versus religion. WHO’S YOUR MESSIAH NOW?

1. “Naked News”

I haven’t thought about “Naked News” since roughly 2005, when I discovered the Internet had free porn. But it’s still around (on TV now) causing trouble for some, and not just for those who are looking for an in-depth jouranlistic report on what happened in New Zealand’s bush rather than…never mind. According to South African website Channel 24, “Family Policy Institute said in a statement that certain Church [organizations] have committed to encourage church alliances and congregations in South Africa to boycott until it cancels the controversial “Naked News” [program] and all other pornographic content from its broadcasting schedule.” Supposedly, millions of people joined the boycott, but “Naked News,” which is produced in Canada, continues to air and has been so popular that a South African version is in discussion.

2. “Willing Willie”

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A Filipino game show called “Willing Willie” sounds so honest and respectable, certainly not conjuring images of little children named Willie getting sodomized. While there was no pedophilia involved, there was a crying six-year-old boy named Jan-Jan being forced to do a sexy “macho dance” to Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” in front of a laughing audience and tens of thousands of viewers. The show’s host, Willie Revillame, egged him on, saying, “He’s even crying. That’s how hard life is. Of course he will dance like a macho dancer despite his age for his beloved family.”

When the clip went viral, the sh*t hit the proverbial fan and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines condemned “Willing Willie.” According to Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (the church’s “social development arm”), “The management and host of the show brought shame not only to (the boy) and his parents but to media practitioners in general.” In April, “Willing Willie” went on hiatus due to an exodus of advertisers — before returning in May with a new name, “Wil Time Bigtime.”

3. “NYPD Blue”

In 1993, the American Family Association, led by Reverend Donald Wildmon (whose last name is false advertising), targeted Steven Bochco’s “NYPD Blue” as a potential threat to the American way. Meaning he was scared of Dennis Franz’s ass and still bitter that “Cop Rock” had been canceled after only one season. Unlike the rest of the country, who just decided to look away, Wildmon did something about it: he took out full-page ads in newspapers, called the show soft-core porn, convinced a fourth of ABC’s affiliates to not air the premiere, and predicted the show would be gone in two months. The pilot still managed boffo ratings (probably because of the controversy), affiliates quickly caved in, knowing that they stood to lose millions by not airing the show, and “NYPD Blue” ran for 261 episodes. Twelve years later, Wildmon’s son, Tim, admitted that the eight week prediction was “wrong” and that “NYPD Blue” “started the trend toward more sex, violence, and profanity on television, and has led to the downfall of television overall,” which explains “Raising the Bar.”

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