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FCC Changes Children’s Television Rules

Dec 15, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The TV industry and children’s advocates announced a deal Thursday over changes in the Federal Communications Commission new children’s TV rules. The groups said they would drop pending court challenges to the regulations if the FCC adopted the rule changes proposed. Under the FCC’s new rules as currently written, which are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, TV stations that multicast on digital channels are supposed to offer additional educational and informational programming for kids. In addition, the rules would require broadcasters and cable TV operators to count most promotional announcements, including those for Web site addresses within children’s shows, toward the agency’s commercial limits for children’s TV programming. Another provision would have banned display of the addresses of Web sites that use a character for the program to pitch products and services. Still another provision would bar broadcasters from counting toward their programming quotas children’s TV shows they pre-empt more than 10 percent of the time. In a joint statement the TV networks and children’s advocates said that under their new deal, the ban on the display of the addresses of Web sites that use a character from the program to pitch products and services would be eased. In addition, promotions within children’s TV programs would not be counted toward the commercial limits, and the 10 percent limit on pre-emptions of children’s TV shows would be eliminated. The networks also said they would voluntarily agree to comply with the proposed changes under the deal by March 1, if the FCC had not acted on the joint request by that time.