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FCC Says ‘MNF’ Spot Did Not Violate Indecency Rules

Mar 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

An ABC promo for “Desperate Housewives” that showed actress Nicolette Sheridan dropping a towel and leaping into the arms of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens last year did not violate Federal Communications Commission indecency prohibitions, according to an FCC ruling Monday.

The Nov. 15 promo aired during “Monday Night Football” generated more than 50,000 complaints at the FCC, even though the bit showed Ms. Sheridan naked only from behind and Mr. Owens was wearing his football uniform. Said the FCC in rejecting the complaints: “Although the scene apparently is intended to be titillating, it simply is not graphic or explicit enough to be indecent under our standard.”

The FCC did say it found the promo to be “sexually suggestive.” But it added: “No sexual or excretory organs are shown or described, and no sexual activities are explicitly depicted or described. Furthermore, the scene where Sheridan drops her towel and jumps into Owens’ arms is brief.”

In a separate statement, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said the promo, although not legally indecent, raises concerns about responsibility. “There wasn’t much self-discipline in this particular promotion,” Mr. Copps said. “As stewards of the public airwaves, broadcasters can and should do better.”