Sexy ‘Brother’ offends church

Hungarian show fined for airing explicit scenes, blurbs

BUDAPEST — Nudity and on-air sex in Hungary’s “Big Brother” has landed it in hot water with the Catholic Church and the National Television and Radio Authority (ORTT).

ORTT fined commercial network TV2 HUF 6.4 million ($23,000) after it rebroadcast explicit scenes from the reality skein in commercials advertising the show.

The show has drawn criticism and high ratings since bowing in September.

Until recently its fiercest critics were rival broadcasters including CLT-Ufa-controlled network RTL Klub, whose No. 1 position in the Magyar TV market has been shaken by “Big Brother,” and TV2’s slate of new programs launched under a new network logo and look this fall.

“Big Brother’s highest rated show was one where they had sex in it,’ said an official with RTL Klub. “I don’t think this should be on a national broadcaster.”

Now “Big Brother’s” sex appeal has drawn the ire of the Catholic Church. ORTT’s fine reportedly stemmed from a complaint lodged by Szeged-Csanad county bishop Endre Gyula, who protested that the primetime broadcast of explicit content was unsuitable for children who may be viewing.

TV2, majority owned by SBS Broadcasting, has made no comment on the fine or the criticisms of the Szeged-Csanad bishopric. The network is unlikely to clean up “Big Brother” unless church opposition undermines ratings — or ORTT fines become substantial.

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