ABC is wrestling internally with the level of sex and violence that will be included in its midseason Biblical drama “Of Kings and Prophets.” There’s a chance the network will offer racier edits of the show online compared to the episodes that air on the network.
Showrunner Chris Brancato suggested the series may have a different version of the show streaming online than will air on the linear network during the panel on the show Saturday during ABC’s portion of the winter Television Critics Association press tour.
The plans are still in the formative stage. It’s understood that there’s some internal debate about how far the network should go on air with the show, which has a provocative sex scene in the pilot, among other racy elements.
Presenting different versions of a series is not a new phenomenon for ABC. The first season of “American Crime” had scenes not fit for American broadcast but were included in international cuts of the series.
As for “Of Kings and Prophets” — which was applauded by ABC chief Paul Lee for being a “muscular” and beautifully made series — co-creators Adam Cooper and Bill Collage spoke to Variety about the possibility of releasing a different version of episodes online, saying, “It’s being discussed. It’s not definite.”
“We have more leeway with online content,” Cooper told Variety after the panel although he cautioned that doesn’t mean they have no restrictions. “For instance, how much skin or sexuality we can show? I think we can show it in its pure form, but I think we’re really talking about subtle distinctions” between online and broadcast. It’s not like in the online version we’re going to be showing scenes with people’s heads being hacked off.”
As for sex scenes, Cooper continued, “In the broadcast version, we kind of have to cut around it and do it in pieces, but in the online version, I think we can show it as we originally intended. Certainly not added scenes, just different edits.”