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Anti-violence ads unveiled

Entertainment industry execs met with President Clinton and Vice President Gore on Thursday to unveil a series of anti-violence ads that will be launched on broadcast and cable TV and in movie theaters.

Participants said Clinton barely focused on the subject of TV violence, but rather on how Hollywood, cablers and the networks can use their power to curb societal violence.

Motion Picture Assn. of America president Jack Valenti said a working group will be formed among the White House and entertainment industry figures to continue the anti-violence dialogue. Valenti said Clinton impressed upon participants at the meeting the “importance of presenting to kids the message that resorting to violence is a terrible thing.”

Clinton praised the industry for “working hard now to help America reduce violent behavior,by showing young people that there are alternatives to violence.” Clinton singled out Valenti and the video software dealers for “new and unprecedented” commitments to curbing societal violence.

Three public service announcements sponsored by the National Advertising Council will soon be showing up on TV screens and movie theaters. Valenti said he has also met with homevideo industry leaders in a bid to have the PSAs inserted into new releases over the next few months.

Participants at the meeting included Valenti, CBS/Broadcast Group prexy Howard Stringer, NBC president/chief exec Robert Wright, ABC chairman Thomas Murphy, the Disney Channel president John Cooke, MTV Networks chairman Tom Freston, Fox Broadcasting chairman Lucie Salhany, Showtime Networks chairman/CEO Tony Cox, MPAA lobbyist Matt Gerson and USA Network president Kay Koplovitz.

The subject of TV violence was barely broached at the session, according to several participants. “There was no criticism of the industry at all,” said one attendee.

Noting the anti-TV violence furor raging in Congress, another participant claimed that “a whole lot more good will come out of this meeting than any congressional meeting. This is the kind of reasoned discussion that has been all too rare lately.”

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