Originally created 11/21/02

Groups protest Victoria's Secret TV fashion show



NEW YORK -- Two women's groups and a media watchdog organization on Tuesday asked CBS not to air the Victoria's Secret fashion show, calling it a "soft-core porn infomercial."

CBS said it was moving ahead with the broadcast of supermodels in lingerie on Wednesday night.

Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Women and the Parents Television Council were among several groups protesting the televised fashion show, which was taped in New York City last week.

ABC aired it last November, prompting an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which ruled it did not violate decency standards.

Along with the airing of near-nudity, the groups said the show degrades women.

"What purpose does the special serve except to overly sexualize women and use this to bolster the networks' demographics for young men?" they asked in a joint letter to CBS President Leslie Moonves.

Melissa Cardwell, research director for the Parents Television Council, said she had hoped that the hundreds of protests about last year's special would have dissuaded broadcasters from showing it again.

"Despite what the PTC says, this is not pornography," CBS spokesman Chris Ender said. "It's a one-hour fashion show mixed with musical performances and comedy segments.

"Does it push the envelope? Sure. But everyone knows what the Victoria's Secret fashion show is," he said. "With the advance publicity and the content advisory, every viewer will be armed with information to make their own choice."

CBS is giving the show a TV-14 rating, an indication that the material may be unsuitable for children age 14 and under.

The show has bounced around the CBS schedule. It was originally scheduled to air at 10 p.m. EDT but, worried about competing against ABC's two-hour finale of "The Bachelor," CBS moved it to 8 p.m.

Then, it was moved again - to 9 p.m. Ender said that upon reflection, CBS decided it wasn't best to air the show at 8 p.m. in what used to be considered the family viewing hour.

A "small number" of CBS affiliates aren't airing the show in prime-time, but Ender wouldn't name them. Two are in Idaho: KBCI-TV of Boise and KIDK-TV of Idaho Falls, both owned by Fisher Broadcasting, Inc.

"I don't believe it meets the standards of our communities in the time period offered," said Jeffrey Anderson, Fisher's general manager. "It's a family viewing hour."

Instead, the stations will air the show after midnight on the weekend.

ABC occasionally blurred the picture last year when particularly sheer lingerie was featured. CBS said it expects that not to be a problem this year, indicating the underwear is not as revealing.

The Parents Television Council, angered by the FCC's ruling on last year's show, said it intends to step up pressure on federal regulators if this year's edition is similar.

Also, CBS said it had edited out a demonstration by animal rights activists at last week's taping. Four protesters stormed the stage with signs that read "Gisele: Fur Scum," when model Gisele Bundchen - who has a modeling contract with a leading fur company - walked the runway.