Tuesday afternoon here in Manhattan the Second U.S. Court of Appeals nullified more than $1.2 million in fines issued from the FCC for the ABC television network and 45 of its affiliates. Going back in the way back machine, those fines stemmed from an episode of NYPD Blue that aired in February of 2003, nearly eight years ago. In the episode's opening scene viewers saw two clear but short shots of actress Charlotte Ross' naked behind. You can read more about today's decision here.
It wasn't the first time NYPD Blue pushed the envelope, but this time the more conservative under the Bush White House FCC issued fines to ABC and to its affiliates in the Central and Mountain time zones. Why there? Because NYPD Blue aired at 9PM instead of 10PM... inside television's so-called "safe harbor."
During tonight's Rewrite, we showed you this entire clip... not to be salacious, but to illustrate a First Amendment point. This episode of NYPD Blue was not indecent. Instead, to use the language ABC gave the court, its purpose was (to quote the Associated Press) "... portray the awkwardness between a child and his parent's new romantic partner and their difficulties in adjusting to life together."
The conservative Parents Teacher Council freaked out when the episode first aired. It also freaked out today after the Court of Appeals nullified those fines. But the really funny thing... this episode is currently unavailable on DVD. The clip is totally impossible extremely difficult to find online. Except for one place, as Lawrence pointed out in our Rewrite. You can see the whole thing on the website of the very group that fanned the flames of this controversy to begin with... the Parents Teacher Council. As promised... follow this link to the PTC's site and click on "Download the clip" to see it again. But remember... as the site points out, this is "for education purposes only."
And in case you missed it, here's the full Rewrite segment from the show.( Collapse )
msnbc story on the court ruling
Reading this story and remembering NYPD Blue makes me question my memory. Didn't the show have a scene with butt-nudity much, much earlier in the series than 2003?