can . How do their bosses excuse themselves? Jeff Zucker, NBC's entertainment president, told Rutenberg, "We do have a responsibility, and I do think we're a broadcaster in the broadest sense. On the other hand, we have to open our eyes and understand we have to adapt." In other words, the networks will be "responsible" in the sense that they won't go too far too fast, but they'll also "adapt," meaning they'll eventually permit it all. So they'll relax standards a bit this season, a bit more next season, and by, say, May 2006, who knows what the standards will be, or if there'll be standards worthy of the name? The pressure is on. Rutenberg reports that "CBS executives say that writers are submitting scripts ... that include every crude word imaginable, including one considered to be on the furthermost reaches of decorum (let's just say it has to do with the making of stem cells)." Where, oh, where, is the FCC? Asleep at the switch, unfortunately. "Broadcast indecency," which covers "patently offensive" treatment of "sexual or excretory organs or activities," is permitted only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. -- in other words, it's forbidden in the first two hours of prime time, yet the FCC has said nothing about the violations to date. Interestingly, while the relevant law also bars the kind of "profane" language that Sorkin is pushing for, the section of the FCC Web site concerning obscenity -- which can never be broadcast -- and indecency doesn't discuss profanity. When I had an assistant ask the reason for the discrepancy, and what FCC policy is on the likes of "g--damn," he was given the runaround, but no answer. Memo to George W. Bush: It would take one phone call to FCC chairman Michael Powell to simply remind him, since obviously he needs reminding, that the airwaves belong to the public, not Sorkin, Bochco or NBC, and it's the FCC's job to protect the public's interest.