MTV will be scrubbing out certain elements of “Scrubbing In,” after nonprofit nursing organizations decried the reality show’s sudsy depiction of nurses both in and out of the field.
Not only will the net be editing the remaining “Scrubbing In” segs to include more clinical scenes that highlight nursing skills, but MTV has also moved the show from its primetime lineup to midnight, where viewership will be decreased.
“Scrubbing In” debuted on MTV on Oct. 24 in the net’s 10 p.m. timeslot, and immediately drew criticism from orgs including the American Nurses Association, which stated that the series’ “negative images reinforce sexist and inaccurate nurse stereotypes.” A petition on Change.org that calls for MTV to cancel the series has also accrued over 30,000 signatures at the time of this story. The program offers a docusoap portrayal of young traveling nurses, and features cast members partying, drinking and arguing when not on the job.
In an interview with Variety, The Truth About Nursing‘s founder and exec director Sandy Summers said she spoke with Jason Rzepka, MTV’s senior veep of communications and public affairs, about the issues surrounding the 51 Minds-produced show earlier this month.
“He said that he and others at MTV did not know much about the nursing stereotypes or that they undermine nursing, leading to a dearth of funding for nursing practice, education, research and residencies,” Summers said. “Jason indicated to me that he wanted to help ameliorate the impasse between MTV and the nursing community.”
This is not the first time MTV has received complaints regarding its reality fare (“Jersey Shore” and “Buckwild” unleashed a firestorm of criticism from organizations and communities over the shows’ content), but it is a rarer instance where the net has rescheduled and edited episodes in light of negative response.
“[Rzepka] set out to work with us to make things as better as possible, given the constraints he was under trying to balance MTV’s business dealings,” Summers relayed.
Nursing org reactions to “Scrubbing In,” however, weren’t the only elements factoring into the decision to push the show to the midnight timeslot. During its first three airings on MTV’s primetime lineup, “Scrubbing In” wasn’t performing strongly for the net, averaging less than 500,000 total viewers.
In addition to rescheduling and editing “Scrubbing In,” MTV has also agreed to promote a “Day in the Life of a Nurse” web feature, add a blog post to MTV’s website that details the nursing profession, and consult with The Truth About Nursing should any future nurse-centric programming be added to the cabler’s lineup.
Summers stated she “gives great credit” to the network for its “openness and willingness to learn new things.”
“It’s a characteristic that is less common than it should be in Hollywood,” the exec remarked. “In this case, it enabled MTV and the nursing profession to meet in the middle…Hollywood producers and executives have often simply dismissed our concerns, claiming that their programming can’t affect the real world, even though they are eager to accept credit for improving public understanding when their work is well-received. So, we were very pleased with our interactions with Jason and MTV.”
MTV did not have comment regarding changes made to “Scrubbing In.”