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Thursday, January 5, 2006; Posted: 8:57 a.m. EST (13:57 GMT)

http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/01/05/television.daniel.reut/index.html

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- NBC affiliates in Arkansas and Indiana are turning the page on upcoming series "The Book of Daniel," which has been drawing criticism for its portrayal of Christianity.

The series depicts an Episcopalian minister, played by Aidan Quinn, struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, among other problems in his diocese. Jesus is actually a character on the series, depicted in imagined conversations with the minister.

Last month, the conservative American Family Assn. began calling on affiliates and advertisers to bail out of "Daniel." Many stations have been flooded with e-mails and calls from viewers objecting to the series.

KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas, and WTWO-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana, announced Wednesday they would pre-empt "Daniel," when it premieres Friday at 9 p.m. Both are owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.

KARK-TV declined to air "Daniel" citing "careful consideration" of viewer feedback. Little Rock's WB affiliate, KWBF-TV, will air "Daniel" instead.

However, WTWO general manager Duane Lammers said he is not pre-empting "Daniel" due to its content but rather to protest what he views as the networks' strong-arm approach to affiliates, as well inconsistent federal oversight of indecent content.

"This has nothing to do with the program and has nothing to do with the AFA," Lammers said. "I think the system is screwed up. I think the network thinks we are going to do whatever they tell us to do. I think the regulatory environment is flawed."

The network stands by the series, according to Vivi Zigler, executive vp current programming at NBC Entertainment, who cautioned not to judge the series on the basis of promotions for the show.

"People are reacting based on not having seen it," she said. "They're seeing the advertising, not seeing what the core of the show is."

Jack Kenny, executive producer of "Daniel," dismissed claims that the series is anti-Christian. "We are not in any way satirizing Christianity or Jesus," he said. "It's done with love, honoring those things."

Other affiliates have wrestled with the decision to run the show.

"There's been an enormous amount of discussion about the show," said Steve Poulsen, VP marketing at KSL-TV, NBC's affiliate in Salt Lake City. "This one happens to have religious overtones to it and is causing a little stir. We determined on this one to let the viewers determine the success or failure of this show."

KSL, which caters to a heavily Mormon viewership, has not been shy about joining the small group of stations that have pre-empted NBC programming in the recent past. Among the NBC series that have been yanked in recent years, include "Coupling," "God, the Devil and Bob," and "Stressed Eric."

Lammers, who also serves as executive VP and chief operating officer of WTWO parent company Nexstar Broadcasting Group, is known for taking aggressive stands on behalf of his company. He pulled multiple Nexstar-owned stations off Cox Communications and Cable One cable systems for most of 2005 in order to negotiate cash for carriage -- an unprecedented arrangement. Both operators settled with Nexstar late last year.

WTVO, which is the 150th-largest television market in the U.S., will air the film "Simon Birch" instead of back-to-back episodes of "Daniel."
 

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I figured that was going to happen.
I'm surprised it took them this long.

dswallow said:
The network stands by the series, according to Vivi Zigler, executive vp current programming at NBC Entertainment, who cautioned not to judge the series on the basis of promotions for the show.

"People are reacting based on not having seen it," she said. "They're seeing the advertising, not seeing what the core of the show is."
Uhm, well who approved the advertising?
Would that be the network?
 

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I'm ashamed of this. Another reason I'm glad I get my locals from Memphis.

I only heard about this on the radio this morning. According to the KARK spokesman they viewed the pilot and "found no redeeming qualities" in the show. Yeah, because folks eating boiled bull testicles on Fear Factor is the height of enlightenment. Jackasses. :rolleyes:

The local WB affiliate will be airing The Book of Daniel.
 

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This reminds me a lot of protests over The Last Temptation of Christ and Dogma. How can people legitimately protest a show they've never seen? Then again, what if a network started airing teasers for a show that depicted Muslims eating bacon and conversing with Allah? Does anybody believe a show like that would make it to air?
 

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Ugh. Our local NBC affiliate in Knoxville is to decide later today whether or not to air the show. I abhor censorship, so I will be emailing to station manager later. Hopefully enough emails will persuade the powers that be to let it air.

-Rose
 

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dtreese said:
This reminds me a lot of protests over The Last Temptation of Christ and Dogma. How can people legitimately protest a show they've never seen? Then again, what if a network started airing teasers for a show that depicted Muslims eating bacon and conversing with Allah? Does anybody believe a show like that would make it to air?
Yes, we have no problem right now making fun of Muslim culture. We've been making fun of Jewish culture for years on TV. But in this political climate, making fun of Christian culture is a forbidden. Then again, this is only happening with a couple of small market affiliates owned by one company. So this isn't really widespread. It's just being covered as if it is in the media. I applaud the program manager in SLC. If people are offended, they won't watch (so the theory goes) and if people don't watch, it will get cancelled. Hence, the situation will take care of itself.

Of course, this all could be leaked by NBC, as a publicity stunt to get people curious...
 

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Steveknj said:
Explain what you mean by Faith.
Faith (noun): Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

Is that not an accurate description of being against a show one has never seen?
 

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busyba said:
Faith (noun): Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

Is that not an accurate description of being against a show one has never seen?
I suppose it is :) These days, the connotation of Faith, is that it means strong belief in religion / God.

I'm not going to watch this show, only because it really doesn't sound that interesting to me. But I would think, if you were a religious type, you would want to watch it once, so you can form a legitimate opionon. Then again...how many of us don't try something, weather it be a TV show, or even a new dish at a local restaurant just because it is something you THINK you wouldn't like based on what someone tells you or what you have read about something. But you really wouldn't know until you experience it yourself. It's just the way life is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Steveknj said:
I'm not going to watch this show, only because it really doesn't sound that interesting to me. But I would think, if you were a religious type, you would want to watch it once, so you can form a legitimate opionon. Then again...how many of us don't try something, weather it be a TV show, or even a new dish at a local restaurant just because it is something you THINK you wouldn't like based on what someone tells you or what you have read about something. But you really wouldn't know until you experience it yourself. It's just the way life is.
In my experience, too many "religious types" won't form their own opinion but will instead repeat the opinion they are told to have by their religious leadership.
 

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Steveknj said:
I suppose it is :) These days, the connotation of Faith, is that it means strong belief in religion / God.
If you don't think the ironic juxtaposition of multiple definitions was deliberate, then you aren't giving me nearly enough credit. :D

But I would think, if you were a religious type, you would want to watch it once, so you can form a legitimate opionon.
My experience has been that "religious types" are somewhat prone to knee-jerk reactions that are not typically burdened with things like facts. :)

(edit: dswallow said it better)

Then again...how many of us don't try something, weather it be a TV show, or even a new dish at a local restaurant just because it is something you THINK you wouldn't like based on what someone tells you or what you have read about something. But you really wouldn't know until you experience it yourself. It's just the way life is.
Sure, but when people don't let anyone else try something for that reason, that's where they start to cross the line.
 

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In my experience it has always been pretty easy to change the channel when I don't like a show that is on. I was on the fence about watching this show, now I most likely will, just to see what the fuss is all about.
 

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Anyone follow what the Afghanistan Taliban did to their media when they ran that country ?

The American Taliban just want the same thing here.
 

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scottcohn said:
In my experience it has always been pretty easy to change the channel when I don't like a show that is on.
Of course it is. The TV station knows that's an option, and thinks too many people will do that if they air the show, so they're not airing the show.

This isn't the FCC banning a show. It's a private TV station deciding, based on viewing and advertising markets, whether to air the show.
 

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Darn it, I love Aidan Quinn. He doesn't usually make trashy movies, so I suspect his show will deal with the issues intelligently.
 

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http://theedge.bostonherald.com/tvNews/view.bg?articleid=119915

Part of a longer article:

"Aidan Quinn knows his new series, “The Book of Daniel” (premiering tomorrow at 9 p.m. on WHDH, Ch. 7), might be controversial. He just doesn’t understand why.

“There’s nothing genuinely to be that upset about,” Quinn said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I don’t understand all the talk about it. Because if you ask me, this show is pretty wholesome down the middle. It deals with some controversial subject matters, certainly, but in a way that I don’t think is that salacious. The religious aspect, in particular, I think is very down the middle.”
 

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aindik said:
Of course it is. The TV station knows that's an option, and thinks too many people will do that if they air the show, so they're not airing the show.

This isn't the FCC banning a show. It's a private TV station deciding, based on viewing and advertising markets, whether to air the show.
You know, that's a point I hadn't even thought about. Bravo. In the bible belt, they don't believe that they will get the ratings that they would showing something else.

It's not a religious thing, it's a finacial thing. But you can bet, the religious fanatics will use this as a means to an end.
 
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