The push to clean up network television has intensified, with religious and political leaders demanding a decrease in violent programming.

A broad coalition called Christian Leaders for Responsible Television (CLRTV) has announced it will closely monitor this year’s fall television season. “If we do not see a 35 percent reduction of sex, profanity, and violence, and an immediate end of anti-Christian bias in programming, we will choose one or more advertisers and ask our constituents for a massive economic boycott,” said CLRTV executive director Donald Wildmon.

CLRTV is made up of about 1,600 leaders, including the heads of some 70 Protestant denominations; more than 100 Catholic bishops; 21 United Methodist bishops; 13 Episcopal bishops; 16 Lutheran bishops; 21 heads of state Southern Baptist conventions; more than 200 Christian broadcasters; and presidents of Christian colleges.

Billy Melvin, chairman of the CLRTV board and executive director of the National Association of Evangelicals, said grassroots concern over the deterioration of television programming abounds. “We believe we have the best chance we’ve ever had to impact the medium,” he said, “to change the face of television programming.”

In April, representatives of CLRTV met with executives from ABC, CBS, and NBC to express their concerns about what they term “the moral pollution” of network television. “There was no indication from any of the networks that they intend to change anything they are doing,” Wildmon said.

CLRTV has also asked program sponsors to cooperate in their effort. The group met with advertising executives in Chicago, urging them to be more responsible in the sponsorship of network programming. Wildmon said CLRTV has alerted sponsors and television ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.