Monday, October 1, 2007

Full Disclosure

I was a network censor.

Now, first things first: we don’t call them “censors” in the business. That’s what people in the regular world call us. We call ourselves “broadcast standards and practices editors,” shortened to BS&P or just “standards.”

We are the people who tell producers they can’t use the “f” word no matter how important they think their program is.

We are the people who tell writers they can say “g**” and “d***” but they can’t say them together.

We are the people who decide how much skin is too much and how many times a hip may thrust.
We are the protectors of the airwaves, the defenders of American values, the keepers of the morals.

We tell producers when they have to say “Wal-Mart” instead of “department store” - and vice versa. We ask them to cover up logos of products that are not advertised on the network or products of network-supported advertisers - or when the Sales department is in a snit because the advertiser hasn’t purchased enough time during upfronts.

We encourage safe sex messages in storylines. But we won’t advertise condoms.

We are NOT the supporters of free speech or the First Amendment.

Anyway, that’s my past, who I used to be. For seven years, I worked in standards for a broadcast network. I won’t tell you which one but I’ll give you a hint: it was a pretty hot network with lots of innovative, fun, and critically acclaimed shows. It used to exist and then it became something else. You know the one I’m talking about. Sure you do. Just think a moment.

Yes, that’s it. That’s the one.

So when I talk about television, I’d like to think I learned a thing or two or five. I hadn’t wanted to mention it but you know, I’m not ashamed anymore.

Your Hollywood connection,