A few weeks after American and Dutch researchers found that violence in PG-13 films has now exceeded R-rated levels, the Parents Television Council has come up with a violence scorecard for broadcast vs cable. In a new study (read it: here), the PTC says, “The volume and degree of violent content shown on broadcast and cable television are virtually indistinguishable,” and that broadcast TV shows “consistently underrated graphically-violent content as appropriate for 14-year-old children, even though similar content on the cable networks was rated for mature audiences only.” The PTC is especially concerned with NBC’s Revolution, which, it says, contained an average 91.5 acts of violence per episode over four installments considered.
Among cable shows included in the study were American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Copper, Justified, and Bullet In The Face. They were compared with broadcast dramas like Criminal Minds, Revolution, The Blacklist, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, CSI, and Law & Order: SVU. According to the findings, 37% of all graphic violence in the study aired on broadcast.
About a year ago, the watchdog blasted ABC’s Scandal for what it termed a “brutal” torture scene during an episode that was rated TV-14. At the time, PTC president Tim Winter argued, “It is sickening just how quickly the entertainment industry was able to move past the tragedy of Newtown and get back to business as usual.” Today, Winter blasted the industry for having done “virtually nothing to reduce the flow of graphically violent media to children” since those events. Piggybacking the recent PG-13 v R film study, Winter said, “It is clear that the entire ratings system borders on being fraudulent and requires a massive overhaul.”