The episode, titled “The One Where Kurt Saves Diane,” was heading into the show’s weekly animated sequence when a black screen appeared that read, “CBS HAS CENSORED THIS CONTENT.” Fans of the series thought the title card was a joke, but it turns out it was not.
“We had concerns with some subject matter in the episode’s animated short,” a CBS spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. This is the creative solution that we agreed upon with the producers.”
Reportedly, the animated sequence was about censorship in China and how American studios remove content from their releases to appease Chinese censors. The sequence tied into a storyline in the episode in which a video sharing site is testing out a new censorship tool that was meant to be deployed once the site launched in China.
According to The New Yorker, series creators and showrunners Robert and Michelle King feuded with CBS Television Studios over the sequence, eventually deciding on the title card route that made it to air. The Kings are said to have wanted to keep the title card onscreen for the full 90 seconds that animated sequence was to air before ultimately deciding to have it onscreen for just eight seconds.