FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2008
In total, nearly 11,000 expletives
(hell, damn, ass, piss, screw, bitch, bastard, suck,
crap, shit, and fuck) were aired during primetime on
broadcast TV in 2007 – nearly twice as many as in
Milder expletives like hell, damn,
crap, etc., are starting to take a back seat to
harsher words. In 1998, 92% of the foul language on
TV was comprised of milder expletives. In 2007, 74%
of the foul language could be categorized as mild,
however, more than a quarter of the expletives a
child will hear on TV today will be some form of the
f-word, s-word, or the b-word.
The f-word aired only one time on
primetime broadcast TV in all of 1998 – yet it
appeared 1,147 times on primetime broadcast TV in
2007 on 184 different programs.
The s-word, which appeared only two
times in 1998, aired 364 times in 2007 on 133
Usage of the b-word on
primetime television has increased 196% from 1998 to
2007 (431 to 1277). The number of
programs using the b-word likewise increased from
103 in 1998 to 685 in 2007.
The f-word first aired on a UPN show
in 1998 at 8:00 p.m. In 1999, the number of times
the f-word aired on broadcast television during
primetime increased to 11.
Harsh profanity is becoming more commonplace at earlier
times of the day. Profanity is no longer confined to the
latest hours of primetime where the viewing audience is
primarily comprised of adults.
In 2007, 52% of the programs that
contained the f-word and 55% of the programs that
contained the s-word aired during the 8:00 p.m.
In 2007, the f-word aired in 96 shows
during the 8:00 p.m. hour. CBS and Fox accounted
for almost 60% of all shows airing this expletive.
In 1998, no shows on broadcast
television aired the s-word at 8:00 p.m. or 9:00
p.m. By 2007, the s-word appeared in 73 shows at
8:00 p.m. and 52 shows at 9:00 p.m. Fox and ABC
accounted for 77% of the shows airing the word
during the 9:00 p.m. hour (46% and 31%
The V-chip ratings and content descriptors are wholly
inadequate to protect children and families from this
barrage of offensive language.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of the
programs that aired the f-word and 25% of the
programs that aired the s-word in 2007 did not carry
the L-descriptor, which would have triggered the
mechanism in the V-chip to allow families who do not
wish to be exposed to such content to block the
programs from coming into their homes.
In 2007, 29% of programs aired the
b-word without an L-descriptor, which was more
frequent than the f-word and s-word. This may
indicate a growing comfort with the word in the
networks’ standards and practices departments and
their failure to even recognize the word as
To speak with a representative
from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver
(ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.
The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®)
is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment.
It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence
and profanity on television and in other media. This national
grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the
United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters,
networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and
negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with
elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast
decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical
research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex,
violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is
provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices
for their own families.