CBS Decision to Drop Episodes Raises Concerns

Family Law Episodes Withdrawn from Summer Reruns after Proctor & Gamble Pulls Ads

The New York Times reported that CBS had decided not to broadcast summer reruns of several episodes of the prime-time "Family Law" series after Proctor & Gamble, a major advertiser on the show, said it would withdraw ads from the episodes because the company deemed their content controversial. According to the news report, the episodes in question deal with gun violence, the death penalty, abortion and interfaith marriage; CBS said it would rerun one of the withdrawn episodes this fall.

People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas said that the story raises concerns about advertiser influence over programming decisions, particularly in an era of increasing consolidation in the media.

"While Proctor & Gamble and CBS are legally free to make sponsorship and programming decisions based on their own criteria," said Neas, "it’s troubling to see a major network simply drop episodes dealing with socially charged issues based on the objections of a single sponsor."

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