So you sit in your living room with your child and turn on the TV. Prepare yourself for jolts of sex, violence or foul language about 12.5 times per family hour. The CW network -- that merger of UPN and WB -- has the least instances of objectionable content per hour, at 9.44, and its show "Seventh Heaven" was the cleanest scripted program, with 1.75 objectionable instances an hour.
Compare that to the worst network, Fox, which had almost 21 small and large outrages every family hour, almost doubling its nearest competitor in offense, CBS. Fox was "led" by "Family Guy," which had the highest frequency of offensive content with 52 instances per hour. That's not pushing the envelope, it's torching the envelope.
And that show is an animated cartoon, marketed to youngsters as well as adults.
Can things get worse? Oh, yes. We haven't touched the other problem in family hour -- reruns of shows that usually air in later hours. Yes, shocking late-night shows turn up during the family hour. Fox viewers could see the episode of "House" with the father who committed incest with his teenage daughter, who turns out also to have hidden testicles. Or consider that CBS put on a rerun of "CSI Miami" where a young teenage boy is traumatized after he savagely, bloodily kills his mother with a nail gun.
Six years ago, Congress hauled Hollywood bigwigs to Washington and made some noise urging the broadcast television industry as well as advertisers to apply their "corporate conscience" and regulate themselves with at least one hour each night of family-friendly programming. Sure, sure, don't you worry, said Hollywood. And the programmers returned to Hollywood, laughing. And the advertisers returned to New York, laughing.
Laughing that someone actually cared that an entire generation of children is being poisoned.