US networks go overboard to 'cover' for Jackson repeat

MUMBAI: One fallout of all the jumping around that has been going on following pop princess Janet Jackson's half time flash at last Sunday's Super Bowl is the way the US broadcast networks are falling over themselves to prevent any repeat.

The first of course is CBS which took the most heat for Jackson's breast bare. Sunday's (Monday morning in India) upcoming telecast of the Grammy Awards will be delayed live to allow censors to suitable edit both audio and video images.

It doesn't stop there though. ABC's live telecast of the Oscars on 29 February will for the first time see the network implementing a delayed airing. One wonders if this has anything to do with the Super bowl show-all or provides ABC a convenient escape route to edit out any unwanted anti-establishment tirades similar to what Michael Moore delivered last year. Moore, while picking up the award for best documentary for his anti-gun film Bowling for Columbine had trashed President George Bush as well as the US-led invasion of Iraq. To quote Moore from his speech: "We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons."

It needs noting here that ABC's decision to use a delay on the Oscars was made over the objections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The "cover-up" wave extends to beyond just live events. NBC network edited Thursday's episode of ERto remove a brief shot of an elderly patient's breast.

Defending its action, the network said it had "unfortunately concluded that the atmosphere created by this week's events has made it too difficult for many of our affiliates to air" what producer John Wells called "the incidental exposure of an elderly woman's breast in the context of a medical trauma." And Wells was pointed in his criticism of the ERediting, issuing a statement that it could have a "chilling effect" on writers.

One only hopes that the network "crackdown" is just a passing phase and will will be given a quiet burial once the dust has settled on the Jackson affair.

Speaking of Jackson, a Fox News report says that some deal is being worked out wherein both Jackson and the man who actually did the "rip-off" pop toy boy Justin Timberlake will be part of the Grammy telecast on CBS.

Till now the news had been that only Timberlake would definitely be performing (being nominated for five Grammies, including Album of the Year is a great incentive to be forgiven any transgression).

According to Fox, the proviso for getting re-entry is that each of them must issue a one-sentence apology on screen about their actions at the Super Bowl.

Could the reported softening have anything to do with Jackson's boyfriend, producer Jermaine Dupri, protest resignation from the Atlanta chapter of NARAS? Maybe, maybe not.

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