After coming under scrutiny in the past couple of months, The Parents Television Council today released its first study of the year, which claims a sharp rise in the frequency and harshness of profanity on primetime broadcast TV in the past 5 years. The report, titled A Habitat for Profanity: Broadcast TV’s Sharp Increase in Foul Language, examines the broadcast networks’ lineups during the first two weeks of the season in fall 2010 and fall 2005. It finds a 69.3% profanity increase, with the greatest rise in harsh profanity occurring at 8 PM and 9 PM. “Our analysis of the first two weeks of this still-new fall television season shows a disturbing trend that shocked even us,” PTC President Tim Winter said. “Profanity is far more frequent and the profanity itself is far harsher than just five years ago. Even worse, the most egregious language is being aired during the time slots when children are most likely to be in the audience.” Here are several other findings:

  • Use of the bleeped or muted f-words increased from 11 instances total in 2005 to 276 instances in 2010 – an increase of 2,409%.
  • Use of the bleeped or muted s-word increased from 11 instances in 2005 to 95 instances in 2010 — an increase of 763%.
  • During the family hour, instances of the f-word increased from 10 in 2005 to 111 in 2010. Use of the s-word during the family hour increased from 11 instances in 2005 to 42 in 2010.
  • The Fox broadcast network showed the greatest per hour increase in use of profanity from 2005 to 2010 with a 269% increase across all prime-time hours.

This summer, the Parents TV Council was dealt a blow when an appeal court tossed the FCC indecency rules that the council had lobbied for and helped enforce.