×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Prison’ too violent?

Skein draws scorn from Gaul's CSA

The U.S. series “Prison Break,” a huge primetime hit for Gallic web M6, is at the center of a brouhaha in Gaul.

Season one began airing Aug. 31 and was soon drawing record audiences for France’s second commercial channel.

But at the beginning of November, days before the 22-episode season ended, M6 received a terse letter from broadcasting watchdog the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, complaining that some episodes were too violent for its “not for under 10s” rating, displayed during the program.

Under Gallic regs, a “not for under 12s” rating would relegate the show to after 10 p.m., while a “not for under 16” rating — for programs with pornographic or extremely violent content — would mean a slot after 10:30 p.m.

M6 went ahead and screened the final episode, along with episode one of season two, on Nov. 8 — notching up an audience of 7 million viewers, the fourth biggest aud for the web since it launched 20 years ago.

M6 has defended its choice of rating to the CSA; a CSA working group will examine the web’s arguments Wednesday ahead of a plenary session of the CSA council, which will have the final word on Nov. 28.

But that decision will concern only the already-broadcast first season — not season two, which the authority has not seen and M6 has still to air.

M6 has made no comment on the CSA’s move, but, privately, execs called the situation “absurd.”

“If they stick to their guns, France will be the only country where ‘Prison Break’ is not allowed to air in primetime,” said one, pointing out that it airs in primetime in U.S., Sweden, Canada, Spain and the Netherlands.

A spokesman for the CSA said Tuesday that, unlike films, which are classified by a national board, broadcasters decide for themselves what ratings to attach to violent or sexually explicit TV programs, but the CSA can intervene if it feels they are being too lenient.

There are no specific guidelines, the spokesman said, and no quantitative criteria, such as the number of times a swear word is used, as in the U.K.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Shane Gillis SNL

    Shane Gillis Out From 'Saturday Night Live'

    “Saturday Night Live” is officially cutting ties with Shane Gillis. “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,'” an “SNL” spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels said in a statement. “We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we [...]

  • Sophie Turner, Corey Hawkins to Lead

    Sophie Turner, Corey Hawkins to Lead Quibi Thriller Series

    Sophie Turner has found her first TV role post-“Game of Thrones.” The British actress, who is nominated at this year’s Emmys for playing Sansa Stark on the HBO mega-hit, is set to star alongside “Straight Outta Compton” actor Corey Hawkins in a thriller series in the works at Quibi. Titled “Survive,” the series is based [...]

  • Barton Fitzpatrick as Reg, Alex R.

    ‘The Chi’ Ups Justin Hillian to Showrunner, Ayanna Floyd Davis Exits

    “The Chi” has appointed a new showrunner for its forthcoming third season. Writer Justin Hillian will take over from season 2 showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis, who departs as the series looks to emerge from the cloud of the Jason Mitchell misconduct affair. It was revealed in May that Mitchell had been fired from the series due [...]

  • Duane Chapman Hospitalized

    Duane 'Dog' Chapman 'Under Doctor's Care' After Reported Heart Emergency

    Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, is “under doctor’s care” after reportedly suffering a heart emergency just months after the death of his wife, Beth Chapman. The reality star was taken to a hospital from his Colorado home over the weekend after experiencing chest pain, according to TMZ, which first reported the [...]

  • United Talent Agency Reveals New Logo

    UTA Unveils New Logo, Corporate Image

    UTA raised the curtain Monday on a new corporate logo. The three-dimensional image is meant to emphasize the talent agency’s focus on uniting ideas, opportunities and talent. Building signage with the new logo will go up next month at UTA’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. “Our new identity captures the multiple facets and intersections of our [...]

  • Jeff Bridges FX Pilot 'Old Man'

    Jeff Bridges FX Pilot 'Old Man' Casts Amy Brenneman

    Amy Brenneman has joined the cast of the FX drama pilot “Old Man.” She joins previously announced cast members Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Thomas Perry, the series centers on Dan Chase (Bridges), who absconded from the CIA decades ago and has been living off the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content