TV Programming's A Bloody War -- But Don't Let Your Boss Find Out

Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone doesn't like blood on his hands -- and, if he had his way, his network wouldn't be airing a mixed-martial arts fighting series.

The series, "Elite Xtreme Combat" -- part of CBS' attempt to get in on the business of so-called ultimate fighting shows -- has grabbed viewers' fancy.

Redstone doesn't think it should be on broadcast TV.

However, Redstone said nothing about cable TV -- as well he should. As we all know, Spike TV, now split from CBS due to the split up of CBS and Viacom, had three years worth of WWE on its airwaves -- or cable lines, if you will.

Was there blood? Sure, a little. Probably more black and blue marks, which aren't as eye-popping as red blood cells.  And, of course, it's fake. (Sorry. I thought you knew!)

While broadcasters still get the tenth degree from governmental regulators, cable networks don't have to answer to anyone -- except advertisers.

So Redstone should amend his statement. If it's "socially responsible" not to air the bloody bouts on free, broadcast TV, it should not air on cable as well.

Let's face it: Cable networks are posers. They want to look and feel like broadcast networks.  In essence they want all the benefits of broadcasters - all that advertising money, as well as subscribers' fees that heretofore broadcasters haven't been getting.  

But they don't want federal regulation. C'mon, be a man!

Is there socially responsible cable TV programming? Sure. Just don't fall into the trap Time Warner's Cartoon Network got into by running some mysterious-looking guerrilla marketing - which was interpreted by Boston-area citizens and its police force as possible terrorist warnings.

Media conglomerates battle a lot these days. But they need to be well-rounded in their fighting -- even when it doesn't draw blood



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