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Viacom Requests Court Review of FCC’s Kids TV Rules

Oct 4, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Following through on network threats to fight the Federal Communications Commission’s new children’s TV rules, Viacom on Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to review the agency’s regulations.

The owners of the Big 3 TV networks previously warned the FCC that they would sue to overturn the rules unless the agency eases them dramatically. The networks are particularly concerned that the new agency regulations, slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, will put severe restrictions on their ability to attract children to their Web sites, where FCC regulations — including one prohibiting selling or pitching by children’s TV program hosts — don’t currently apply.

“Our filing today in the D.C. Court of Appeals is intended simply to preserve our options,” Viacom said in a statement. Viacom did not offer further explanation.

The Walt Disney Co. said in a statement of response to the filing that Viacom did the court filing because the watchdog Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ filed suit last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati seeking a complete FCC ban on interactive advertising on children’s TV.

Disney, which was not involved in Viacom’s court filing, said it continues to seek relief from the regulations at the FCC. “Disney/ABC fully support Viacom’s court challenge,” Disney said. “We believe the new kids TV and Web site rules must not become effective until the substantial legal and fairness issues have been addressed by the FCC, by ruling on the pending petitions for reconsideration, and/or by review in the court.”