Holy Pow! NBC Stations Yield To Pressure, Close Book On 'Daniel'

TV pressure groups have gotten to some NBC affiliates forcing controversial new drama, "The Book of Daniel," off the air in at least two markets. The series debuts Friday at 9 p.m. (ET) on the NBC Television Network, but two stations owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group -- WTWO-TV, Terre Haute, Ind.; and KARK-TV, Little Rock, Ark. - will pre-empt it. "The Book of Daniel" stars Aidan Quinn, as Daniel Webster, an Episcopal priest with an addiction to pain-killers and a stressful relationship with his church superiors.

"Our relationship with NBC always provided for the right to reject programming," said Duane Lammers, executive vice president and COO of Irving, Texas-based Nexstar. "I am reaffirming that right to let them know I will not allow them to make unilateral decisions affecting our viewers."

Network executives say the Nexstar station shouldn't have been surprised about the content of the show, since all affiliates screen each network show long before it airs. The station said it received a number of e-mails from viewers demanding that the show be pulled from NBC.



A statement from NBC said: "'The Book of Daniel' is a fictional drama about an Episcopalian priest's family and the contemporary issues with which they must grapple. We're confident that once audiences view this quality drama themselves, they'll appreciate this thought-provoking examination of one American family."

Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association is taking credit for the move. Since December, it has had a campaign against the show. "The decision by NBC to air the series reflects the anti-Christian bias which exists at the highest levels of the network," Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of AFA, has said.

The AFA also said it has problems with a gay character on the show.

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