Internet Might Still Change TV Language
Now comes the popular "Shit My Dad Says" Twitter page - in which the title, as well as virtually all posts, contain hefty amounts of profanity. CBS is looking to make a TV show from this blue Internet content.
Here are some selections:
-- "Why the fuck would I want to live to 100? I'm 73 and shit's starting to get boring. By the way, there's no money left when I go, just fyi."
-- "Son, people will always try and fuck you. Don't waste your life planning for a fucking, just be alert when your pants are down."
Some would consider this pretty funny stuff; some might think it rude. But how do you recreate it for the broadcast TV industry, which is still hobbled by Federal Communications Commission rules? It's easier for cable to be blue, since it isn't under the purview of the FCC.
Comedy Central still sells advertising in "South Park," for example -- though the list of potential sponsors is shorter for sure than other shows'. Other raw-sounding cable dramas - like those on FX -- also toss around lots of language that would make the heads of executives in broadcast network's standard and practices offices spin.
Broadcasters still keep moving the line, much to the chagrin of TV pressure groups. But in reality, FCC rules haven't changed that much when it comes to language.
Many might say that Dr. Gregory House of Fox' "House" is a foul-mouthed, frank-speaking physician. But the truth is, he's never used any profanity on the show. But no doubt viewers believe he has.
There are creative ways of getting around FCC rules. CBS will, for starters, absolutely change the title ("Crap My Father Says"?) And surely, content issues will push CBS from airing it far away from the so-called early evening "family hour."
Spurred on by the digital age, broadcasters are continually broadening their base of where to find the next TV hits.
ShitMyDadSays has a nice base - some 762,000 followers. At its core is adult language from, say, a 73-year-old dad, who, far into his golden years, believes he can say whatever he wants.
That would seem to be a problem for broadcast TV. Then again, people said the same thing about the Archie Bunker character appearing on CBS a generation ago.
Many cable networks can add any level of profanity into their shows. But most choose not to, in order to align themselves with major TV advertisers who spend heavily with broadcast networks.
Still, shows like "Saving Grace" on TNT loosely sprinkle in rough language from time to time. But this Twitter page isn't about cursing as a condiment -- it's the main course.
CBS will need to change many ingredients. But will the final dish taste the same?