TV Land already is getting angry calls from Dukes Of Hazzard fans after the network this week yanked the show out of rotation. The Viacom network had only begun airing repeats of the decades-old CBS series on June 10.
“We have removed it from the schedule and have no further comment,” A TV Land rep told Deadline.
The Viacom-owned network’s decision follows by about a week Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ announcement it would stop participating in Confederate flag merchandising. Warner Bros. had produced the CBS series that first aired in the late 1970s-early ’80s, and co-starred a car named General Lee that was festooned with a large Confederate flag on its roof.
“Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof — as it was seen in the TV series,” the division said last week in a statement. “We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories.”
TV Land had featured the series twice daily, Monday through Friday, until yanking it this week. TV Land had the series in a shared deal with another Viacom network, CMT and DoH was to have reverted to that network in a few weeks. CMT declined to comment on its plans for the series when contacted last week.
TV Land’s move also comes about a week after businesses began trampling all over each other to get out word they were dropping Confederate merchandise; including Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, e-Bay, Etsy, Sears, etc. That followed calls by politicians to tear down Confederate flags from government buildings after white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine black church-goers, including state senator Clementa Pinckney, during a bible study class, in Charleston, S.C.
The flag still flies at South Carolina’s State House but, on orders from Alabama’s governor, Confederate battle flags were removed from its capitol grounds. Meanwhile, former Rep. Ben Jones (D-GA), known for playing the character Cooter on the Dukes Of Hazzard, defended the TV series TV Land now has removed from its lineup:
“That flag on top of the General Lee made a statement that the values of the rural South were the values of courage and family and good times. Our beloved symbol is now being attacked in a wave of political correctness that is unprecedented in our nation of free speech and free expression,” he said.
Delivering the eulogy for Pinckney at his funeral last week, President Obama weighed in on the flag controversy, saying, “It’s true a flag did not cause these murders, but…we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. Removing the flag from this state’s Capitol would not be an act of political correctness, it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers, it would simply be an acknowledgement that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong,” Obama continued, adding, “By taking down that flag we express God’s grace.”