Group to measure TV shows by conservative ruler

November 17, 1994|By Tanika White | Tanika White,Knight-Ridder News Service

Parents: Think twice if your child wants to watch "M.A.N.T.I.S.," "Melrose Place" or "The Simpsons."

At least that's the advice from the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, which unveiled a guide yesterday Washington to prime-time television shows based on how the programs portray "traditional values."

Shows were faulted if they appeared to condone premarital sex, parental disrespect and gun control.

The group watched more than 8,500 hours of prime-time TV, more than 70 shows, and rated each.

"A red light denotes sitcoms and dramas which frequently attack traditional values and conservative views," said L. Brent Bozell, chairman of the center, based in Alexandria, Va. "A yellow indicates a series which may contain themes offensive to conservatives or inappropriate for younger viewers; and a green light signifies a show parents will find acceptable."

Of the four networks, Fox garnered the most red-lighted shows, seven altogether: "Martin," "The Simpsons," "Married . . . With Children," "M.A.N.T.I.S," "The X-Files," "Models Inc." and "Melrose Place."

" 'Married . . . With Children' is by far the worst offender" on television, Mr. Bozell said.

ABC, NBC and CBS each had two prime-time shows rated red.

CBS' "Hearts Afire" received a red light because the group said the show "advocated the liberal position on gun control, sex education, and ridiculed prominent conservatives."

NBC's "The John Larroquette Show" received a red rating because, among other things, "the overall spirit of the show is one of irreverence, as fun is poked at unions, the animal rights movement and blacks who are too quick to charge racism."

And "My So-Called Life," on ABC, rated red since the main character's "friend regularly boasts of her sexual conquests, and her mother, suspecting she is sexually active, condoned premarital sex by suggesting that her daughter use contraceptives."

Many of the guide's green-lighted shows earned their rating because "they steer clear of any controversial social issues," such as CBS' "The Nanny," ABC's "Home Improvement," and NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

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