Channel One Ad Promotes Most Violent Network Show

March 20, 1997


Birmingham, AL – School children in several area middle schools (including all Jefferson and Shelby County system schools) were forced to watch a commercial during school for the most violent prime time series on network television.

Obligation, a Birmingham-based child advocacy organization, says this is yet another reason to remove the Channel One TV show from Alabama public schools. Obligation has been monitoring the controversial show for the last year.

Channel One is a 12-minute TV news show that has two minutes of commercials. School systems are loaned a TV set for each classroom, a satellite dish, two VCRs, and supplied the daily program as long as the school requires children to watch the show in its entirety at least 90% of the school year.

The commercial in question was actually an ad for Reebok shoes that aired February 12. At the end of the ad, children were confronted with white text on a black screen telling them to “Watch New York Undercover on Fox”. The next text says, ” The new (Allen) Iverson commercial premieres tonight.” (Iverson is a pro basketball player doing Reebok commercials.)

Jim Metrock, president of Obligation, said, “This commercial, which just recently came into our possession, is yet another example of Channel One going over the edge. “New York Undercover” has the same rating as NYPD-Blue. Parents and grandparents ought to be outraged that their schools are urging their students, as young as eleven, to watch this program. This is absolutely ludicrous. If school children were forced to watch a commercial on taxpayer time for NYPD-Blue, the public would be storming the school office.” Broadcasting and Cable magazine, a reputable industry trade journal, reported in September that New York Undercover was the “most violent network prime time series.”

Obligation asked General Manager Stan Knott of Fox6 (WBRC-TV Birmingham) about the appropriateness of encouraging children to watch this program seen on his channel (Thursday 8PM). Mr. Knott expressed dismay that middle school children were exposed to this message. He said the show’s rating (TV-14) would rule out most middle school students.

“This insensitivity toward children is merely the latest indiscretion by Channel One. Last year, this TV show played the satanic rock band Marilyn Manson during school time. Other groups known for their explicit lyrics that glorify drugs, sex, and ultra-violence have been featured on air and on the Channel One website.”

Mrs. Pat Ellis of Jasper is Director of Obligation’s Channel One project. She said, “Channel One is a stranger that schools have invited into the classroom to talk to our children. It is time teachers and parents throw this Hollywood and Madison Avenue huckster out of the school house. It is tough enough for parents to raise children without this material being thrown in their faces at school.”

Dr. Ed Richardson invited Mrs. Ellis and Mr. Metrock to speak to all Alabama Superintendents of Education about Channel One on February 5. Obligation will be giving an informational workshop on Channel One at next month’s Alabama PTA convention in Montgomery (April 18, Embassy Suites). <End>


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