The show claims the change is not because of all the protests, and bad publicity, surrounding it. But the exec producer of Fox TV’s 24 has just announced that the series will cut back on the torture scenes. Howard Gordon tells Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gail Shister, in a TV column published today, the decision is driven by creativity, not criticism. I say what a load of crap. Even Gordon admits he’s not oblivious to the avalanche of protests mounted by groups ranging from human rights protectors to the Parents Television Council to the U.S. military. (The military’s abhorrence of the show’s torture depictions, and its attempt to get them off the air, was outed this week by The New Yorker.) But look at the cold-blooded reason this smug asshole gives to explain the change. “What was once an extraordinary or exceptional moment is starting to feel a little trite. The idea of physical coercion or torture is no longer a novelty or surprise. It’s not something that we, as writers, want to use as a crutch. We’d like to find other ways for Jack to get information out of suspects,” says Gordon. “Our appetite has decreased. Personally, I think the audience may be tiring of it as well. My wife says it’s too much.” The result is that the final eight to 10 episodes this season — the show’s sixth — will include fewer torture scenes, Gordon says, adding that 16 of the 24 ordered segments have been shot. But Melissa Caldwell, senior director of programs at Parents Television Council, tells Shister: “It’s almost too little, too late.” I agree. So, once again, I call for a boycott of the show.