Sex, violence in retreat on broadcast television

Looking for a little bit of sex and violence with your entertainment fare? Flip right past the broadcast networks, which are featuring less of both, according to a new study.

The Center for Media & Public Affairs found that “sexual material” declined on the four major broadcast webs by 27% from 1999 to 2001; violent acts dropped by 11%.

Pay cable webs such as Cinemax contain more sexual content in five minutes of latenight programming than the broadcast webs do all week; nonetheless, the report still gives the salaciousness crown to NBC, which the org said aired five of the 10 most sex-oriented shows last season.

The boob tube’s biggest offender, according to the study? UPN’s “Girlfriends,” which it said averaged 25 scenes of “sexual material” per episode. (Do the report’s authors not watch “Sex and the City”?)

As for violence, most of it doesn’t even show up on the webs. Fans of blood and guts have to seek out firstrun syndicated fare, which provided four of the five most violent shows on TV, the report said.

“Xena: Warrior Princess” was the grisliest of shows in 2000; alas, TV puritans don’t have “Xena” to kick around anymore. The show closed up shop last year.

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