Fox Affiliate in N.C. to Pre-Empt Special ‘Who’s Your Daddy?’

Jan 3, 2005  •  Post A Comment

WRAZ-TV, the Capitol Broadcasting-owned Fox affiliate for the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., market, is pre-empting “Who’s Your Daddy?,” tonight’s 90-minute network special that turns biological fatherhood into a reality/guessing game. WRAZ will substitute an earnest documentary about adoption, “I Have Roots and Branches … Personal Reflections on Adoption.”

In a release discussing his decision to pre-empt “Daddy,” WRAZ VP and General Manager Tommy Schenck noted that Fox had made it possible for the station to screen the special, in which a female contestant, who could win up to $100,000, attempts to guess which of eight candidates is her biological father. “We really appreciate that [Fox] worked with us on this,” said Mr. Schenck, who previously declined to clear “Married by America,” a special for which the Federal Communications Commission has proposed fines, and episodes of “Temptation Island.”

However, the station executive said, “The basic premise of finding a birth parent on a TV game show, with money at stake, does not in my opinion reflect prevailing standards of good taste for our local community. Since the show was first announced, we have heard from numerous viewers, and we also sought the opinion of local adoption professionals. The primary concern, regardless of the show’s ultimate outcome, is the program’s premise, cash prize component, and title. Adoption is a complicated, serious and very private matter, and our local community clearly doesn’t view it as a game.”

Meanwhile, there was confusion about the strategy for the night at WDSI-TV, the Pegasus Communications-owned Fox affiliate in Chattanooga, Tenn. On Monday morning, the schedule posted on the station’s Web site and a staff member said the station would be substituting “Uncle Buck,” the 1989 movie starring John Candy as a hapless baby sitter, for “Daddy.” However, by mid-afternoon the staffer said the station was going to broadcast “Daddy” but offered no further explanation.

Fox Broadcasting released a statement that said: “The special was thoroughly vetted by our standards and practices department to ensure that it was appropriate for broadcast. However, any network affiliate that feels the programming may be inappropriate for their individual market has the right to pre-empt the special.”