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James Hibberd

Parents Television Council Denounces CBS’ 'Dexter' Plan

December 5, 2007 3:10 PM

Dexter (Showtime)Conservative watchdog group Parents Television Council issued a dispatch denouncing CBS Corp.’s tentative plan to air Showtime content such as “Dexter” on CBS during the writers strike.

“CBS’ plan is purely based on corporate greed, not what’s good for families or in the public interest,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “These Showtime programs contain some of the most explicit content on television, period. Yet CBS has no qualms about putting shows that make heroes of serial killers and revel in sick, graphic violence or those that condone drug use and glorify drug dealers in front of millions of children and families on broadcast television. Despite that CBS and Viacom are now ‘separate,’ CBS is funneling in super-raunchy Viacom-owned premium cable content onto the CBS broadcast network. … It is also another powerful example of why the rules concerning media consolidation must not be loosened.”

[Note: Showtime is actually a wholly owned subsidy of CBS Corp., not Viacom. The PTC caught its error and sent a corrected release.]

CBS President and CEO Les Moonves mentioned the plan at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday. He noted that Showtime’s serial killer drama “Dexter” was considered a likely contender to lead the charge because the show fits CBS’ crime-drama brand (except, of course, that CBS’ crime protagonists tend to arrest murderers rather than dismember them).

“Dexter” is winning raves and breaking Showtime ratings records for its current second season. Though the crime drama has pitch-black humor and is sporadically gory in a “’CSI’-gone-wild” kind of way, it likely has never been described as “super-raunchy.”

"The programming will be edited to meet all network television broadcast standards, similar to the way theatrical movies have been edited for broadcast for many years," said a CBS representative when told of the PTC statement.

Continues the PTC: “If CBS goes through with this plan, the PTC will certainly contact every sponsor of the programs.”

Thing is, in a sense CBS has already gone through with this plan. Last year the broadcast network aired the pilot for Showtime’s “Brotherhood.”


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Comments (42)

Kenny Tsai:

The PTC is ridiculous. What about the torture depicted on 24? The the countless murders and dead bodies on C.S.I? The horrendous writing on Heroes?

The networks have a responsibility to put it in the right timeslot (later in the evening) and the rest is up to good parenting.

If boycotts truly did work, "Jerry Springer" and "Maury" - not to mention some forms of hip-hop music - would have long been taken off the air. This rant from the PTC is nothing more than "Move along, nothing to see here" to the rest of us.





The PTC's interjection in the dispute is little more than a cry for attention. It means nothing, it signifies nothing.

Valerie :

PTC - stop trying to get television to do your parenting for you. YOU should be controlling what you want your child to see.

It's very apparent to me that PTC thinks that TV should be their kids' babysitter.

So, we can presume that they are lazy and don't love their kids, yes?

At least that's how I feel about it.

You know, Brent Bozell, you don't need to have a TV in the house. I'd suggest you get rid of yours.

We don't care.


Hey Herb Werman, have you never used the internet before. No need for all caps, no need to double tap the submit button. It's called the 21st century. Welcome to it!


When George Bush leaves office, the PTC will slither back under the rock from which they came never to be heard from again. Hey-jerkwad-if you don't like what is on TV-don't turn on the TV and that channel. Why prevent me from watching what I like and want to watch?


Who on earth would let kids watch that anyway!? I'm an adult and I'll watch what I like. Don't treat me like a kid because you can't take the time to parent your own children!


Hey Felton, Since when does your personally driven hatred of our president have anything to do with the PTC? Last I checked, they have been doing this kind of thing for a long time, and will continue long after our president is out of office. He has no control over the PTC. Get a clue.

Or at least keep your bias checked at the door. I thought that is what we were trying to fight here? The bias of the PTC? What difference does it make if it comes from their hatred or yours?

Hey Herb Werman, Being conservative has nothing to do with being a PTC busy body. Just as easy for me to claim that liberals are devil worshipers that want to eat our babies. Conservative is a philosophy, just as liberalism, and everyone has a bit of both, whether they choose to accept it or not. Truth is truth, and rhetoric is boring. So are you.



The Show is going to be horrible on CBS they will lose many viewers this way


Why will it be horrible? The only thing that needs to be edited is Doakes' language and a bit of violence. There's plenty of blood and violence on network TV right now, and Dexter (with very few exceptions) doesn't reach an R-rated level. A few snips here and there won't hurt a top notch show.
and p.s. how will they "lose viewers"??? The majority of people who will watch Dexter on CBS will be new viewers, not Showtime viewers who are trying to rewatch and will be turned off by the edited versions. lmao.


Dexter is a great show. I subscibed to Showtime because of it. I agree that it is not any more gory than CSI, and Sgt. Doakes' language will be the main editing obsticle. If you are offended by the subject matter, don't watch. You know a show is special when it makes you root for a serial killer to NOT get caught every week.


Dexter is a highly creative drama with good acting and solid writing. I think the main concern of the PTC is the glorification of a serial killer which is legitimate but in the end it is up to parents to control their children. Expecting an agency to give your children guidance is just plain lazy. I also subscribed to Showtime purely to watch Dexter and my biggest worry about the broadcast on CBS is that Showtime will sell the writing and discontinued the show.


OK, if you do not want to watch this show, turn it off. If you do not want your kids to see it, block it. I am so tired of all you whining jerks out there that want to control what any of can watch. I am an adult and if I chose to watch a show like Dexter, that is my decision to make.

Get a life of your own and stay the heck out of every one else's life.

If you would watch TV with your kids and be responsible about the programing they are allowed to see and the hours they spend in front of the tube instead of screaming about the choices available, maybe you would not have time to try to run things for the rest of us.

I raised 3 children and kept a strict eye on what they watched. There was only 1 TV set in the house, in the living room. I knew what they had on and when. Now that they are grown I feel that if I want to watch a more adult themed program, I have the right to do so.

I spent several years homeschooling my youngest and before that I was very active in their schooling. I am so saddened by the number of kids that have little to no supervision now. It makes me even more upset to know that some of the worst offenders are the very ones in our neighborhood that want to ban books, censor music and television, and so on.

Let me ask you, how many of your group of "Watchdogs" have children that are raising themselves?

Jane S


This is the opinion of many-Dexter is going to be shown on CBS at 10pm-heavily edited. It is up to the parents if their kids are watching tv at 10pm (which I highly doubt since this is going to be on Sun nights-the night before a school day) This is a wonderfully acted, scripted and engaging show meant for adults (10 pm) The unedited version (currently being shown on Showtime-is not that violent-mainly it is just language)there are shows on network just as violent (Heroes) It is a parents responsibility to know what their children are watching. Not the government or some watchdog group. I am the mother of three, so I feel I can talk about this subject. Back on the subject of Dexter, if they had watched the show, they would realize it was much more than about a cop that is a serial killer. The bottom line here is that no one deserves the right to advocate banning this show. Parents wake up-know what your children are watching.


I agree with above post. I am a parent and it is my choice wheter to let my kids see Dexter or not. Do you think all parents are idiots and incapable of making their own decisions? By the way, this is an awesome show.


I love that Dexter is on CBS!!! I watched it a few times at my friends house and absoultely loved it. Shame on you for trying to interfere with our freedom of speech.


DEXTER RULES!!!! Get over yourselves!!

Lois Camp:

Who cares if some peole want to denounce DEXTER? It is a terrific show, and bringing it to CBS will only expand viewership. I think that cutting a lot of the content, due to graphic material, will detract some of the importance of the story line, but so what? Let network TV viewers finally see some really great programming for a change.


Ah, Dexter being on network TV is a good thing. I have a hard time explaining the show to friends when I talk about how great it is. Now I can just say "watch it at 10 on sundays".

It really is an excellent show. I hope they don't butcher it too much.


I love Dex, but I'm sad to see it going to CBS to be edited up until it's hardly the show we know and love anymore! Even sadder to expect the loss of a third season due to this writer's strike.
Obviously, most programs on television are not good for children, which is why they have parents to control what they watch. It's not up to CBS to decide what your kids watch, come on... be a parent!

i love dex :)

I concur.

Parents, the world isn't a free zone for your kids. It's up to you to watch them and watch what they consume, from the kitchen to the library to the TV.

Do it.

Aaron Bowman:

I can understand concerns about the influence television might have on your children - when it's children's television.

But when the television in question is a 10pm show for adults, it's a very crappy defense for an organisation's bias.

Perhaps the PTC are forgetting to add the P?


Well, I have to admit, if ever there was a show that merited some parents council being upset, it's probably the one about a ruthless serial killer. That said, I'm sure they'll edit the heck out of it, and Dexter actually makes you THINK about stuff, so, in that respect, it'd probably do they kids better to watch it rather then some of the mindless corporate garbage they get on Nickelodeon or whatever.
Mostly though, I just think YAY DEXTER! I've been wanting to watch the first season over again.


Having this edited and aired on CBS will give those parents, already letting their kids watch, a milder version to choose from. So PTC, it's the parent's responsibility, not yours. By the way, who are you? In Utah we have the Eagle Forum which consist of 3 bitchy women that were trying to pass themselves off as a group of hundreds calling legislatures hundreds of times and disguising their voices. Got caught when phone records showed all the calls were coming from 3 phones. Most likely the PTC is a similar minority trying to act big.

Bob Shear:

I’m a fan; have never missed an episode in two seasons, and I definitely think Dexter is R-rated material, no matter how you edit it. I know lots of other fans of the show, and NOT ONE thinks it belongs on regular TV.

I really don't get the reasoning of people who say it's up to parents to use their V-chip to protect their own kids. Sure it is. But how do I protect my kids from the budding sociopath next door, the abused child of adult sociopaths? Personally, I don’t want the kids who go to high school with my daughter watching Dexter. It’s not appropriate for 14 year olds, and it can’t be made appropriate for 14 year olds.

Just think about that for a minute, and contemplate what Les Moonves said after Columbine: “Anyone who thinks TV has nothing to do with that is an idiot.”

His words, not mine.


I am a Parent. I am a Teacher. I am a citizen. There is too much random violent crime here. There is too much access to guns. There is too much fear.

Adult themed material relating to sex, drugs, violence, belongs under lock and key - not paraded to all.

Just do what you want, feel good when you want, act how you want. Who cares what anyone thinks. It's a free country, right? Not really, we all pay for the crime now and in the long run.


When CBS gets through the editing proccess on Dexter, this show will be a shell of its usual charm on Showtime. Dexter is just not meant for network tv(in the States at least)


I agree..the simple solution to any show you might find offensive is...DON'T WATCH IT!!!! We love Dexter and can't wait for the second season on DVD and the third on Showtime. It's up to parents to monitor what their kids watch. I have a problem with any person or group trying to regulate what I can or can't watch.


The problem is, even if parents can keep their children from watching sickening shows like this, some parents don't care, and if just one sick person gets "an idea" from this, or one teenager "on the edge" acts on this, do you want it to be someone in your family on the receiving end? We have to acknowledge that television does influence how the world is, for the better or for the worse. Is it worth the risk here? This show is going too far.


I just finished watching Dexter Season 1 off of Netflix Online and I loved it. I think it is brilliant.

Although I rarely agree with organizations like PTC, I have to agree with them here. This show does not belong on network television. There is a reason why this show is on cable.

If I was a provocative artist, I would not want my art to be edited and censored to be released to a broader tamer audience.

You can watch it on DVD. You can watch it on Cable. You can watch it the whole season on Netflix for a mere $8.99. There is no reason why it has to be on network tv.


I simply cannot imagine what kind of person enjoys watching this show. I saw the 1st episode that aired on CBS. It was sickening AND shallow. I hope only a miniscule part of the population enjoys watching shows like this.

Rev Tie Dye:

A point that I feel needs to be made here is that TV is on a slippery slope. More and more is acceptable. Hollywood is on a strategic campaign to push the envelope, every year we see things we didn't see last year. Things we only saw during late-night 10 years ago are in prime time today, and prime-time is creeping into day-time. You can't assume that sometime down the line Hollywood is going to say, "OK. Mission Accomplished. We got the F-word on at 10-pm. We can stop pushing now." They're never going to be satisfied. Every time we relax the standards family program pays the toll. Nobody even MAKES about family shows anymore. Try to name 3 current shows that appeal to both children and adults. I can't.
I agree that parents need to strictly monitor their children's Television "Diet." I choose to hope that no parent is going to allow their children to watch Dexter. And I suspect that the unsupervised kids that manage to watch this show on CBS, probably have Showtime, and they've already had access to it.
BUT CBS is still going to run commercials. And at every commercial break I have to worry about which of the network's other shows they're going to advertise. I almost never see a commercial break that doesn't include an ad for a movie, or other TV show that has frightening or violent content, or a lingerie commercial that I don't need to look at. I don't mind what they put on Cable TV. I don't have to bring that into my home, and I choose not to. But can't they leave us SOME venue, were we can have some family entertainment that doesn't require me to watch with my thumb hovering over the remote during every commercial break?
I welcome your responses

No Dexter tonight:

Dexter was not on tonight, which in itself is a blow to the maturity of the American public. We can maime, kill and disable 4,000 American soldiers in Iraq. But dexter is deemed more violent than George Bush and Dick Cheney? Now they shouldn't be on TV! Instead we get violent homeboys, and the paranoid middle class black middle class going at it, murdering each other etc., So I guess that's okay for the religious right, and over protective parents of the United States? Hmmm, go figure it. CBS didn't even have the courage to state that the show was canceled , real cowards!


A few years back, a young guy watched a movie where someone laid in the center of the highway to get run over. Immediately after seeing that, he did the same thing. Some people don't have the reasoning that others are lucky to have.

Even people who don't do much reading must know that people do copycat crimes! If we want to watch types of movies like Dexter, where are we coming from? Is it pleasureful watching innocent people get maimed and killed? Is that friend watching TV with you stable?

There are parents who let their kids watch anything. Some who have commented here do the right thing but not everybody does. The brain is easy to train! Don't you think watching that on a rental would be better than easy access to it on mainstream tv?

Lila T:

First, just a quick note to Wanda, (see above post) who posted something to the effect of.. 'why watch inocent people kiled or maimed'- well, actually "innocent people" are NOT killed and/or maimed on Dexter, the point and what makes it interesting is that Dexter only kills viscious murderers and has a "code" not to kill innocent people (even the annoying ones)or kids etc.. It makes people think, as they now "like" a serial killer, even if he kills evil people he still does kill, kinda a morality/ brain teaser. I enjoy the show, I do wonder though if any teens will want to copy him? In reality- parents can't really hide everything (or even very much to be pragmatic) from anyone above age 11 or so, anymore. Kids have ways around you, friends, internet etc.... Do I think it should be off the air- NO, at a late times slot- YES. As for our freedom, well the government already decides alot for us to suppossedly "help" us- like smoking ban, cell phone ban, what is legal/illegal, I don't even care for that idea, but history proves teens and even some adults are easily persuaded by media (weight,style,looks, etc..) so who knows. I do know that if a kid copies a vigilante killer, he/she already has problems to begin with, and Dexter would just reinforce what is already in their minds, the show would not be the cause of their behavior though,can't blame TV for all that. At least Dexter has a plot, is thought provoking and well written. I personally would not want kids to watch all that mind numbing, stupid reality TV- now that is scary! The show is appealing because many must face the fact that our world is full of scary, bad people and many get away with bad deeds. The law does not catch them all. Some people can vent that frustration via Dexter. Just my 2 cents.


I am not a parent but I know that if I had children I would not allow them to watch Dexter, along with much of the programing on today (not just prime time stuff either, look @ Soaps there is more sex than I've ever seen on Dexter).
As a citizen of the USA I also have the right to not watch a show if I feel it offends my moral standards.
However, I can not be angry with this group for using their right to freedom of speech. If they don't like the show they have as much right as the rest of us to protest it or any other programing.
To tell these people they are wrong for protesting this show is the same as them saying you have no right to watch it. We all are allowed to voice our views in this wonderful country (weither you agree with them or not).
I happened to like the edited version of Dexter & would likely have continued watching it on a regular basis, but after seeing the un-edited show I CHOSE to no longer watch. And thats my right, whatever the reason.


the council needs to clean up the darn soap operas on tv that are on everyday while children are up. All they do is jump from one bed to another, where are the morals in that. Leave Dexter alone, people that watch it are adults, they watch it after the children should be in bed. Leave the good shows alone and go after the afternoon junk on TV.


We watched superman when we were kids and we knew we couldn't fly, we watched batman and new we couldn't dress like a bat and drive any speed we wanted down the road. Give us a break we are adults, we get tired of all the comedies that aren't funny. Wonder how many men feel good watching a comedy were the wife puts down the man all the time and he takes it. Give me a break. Turn on the TV and watch the cartoons the kids watch today. They are more violent then the TV shows I watch. The people that censor these shows, are narrow minded. Adults know make believe from fact. Dexter is about to start its 3rd season on Showtime, how many copy cats are there out there.

tui :

my step father is the prop master for this show. It's gritty and brilliant. But then again I am biast.

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