Sanitized Sex

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the issue of sanitizing sex on television.

Sanitized "Sex" Doesn't Sell

Though shows like Are You Hot and Temptation Island may indicate otherwise, ABC, NBC and Fox have no interest in having Sex on their stations this fall.

Three of the four major networks have turned down HBO's $3 million-per-episode offer of a made-for-prime-time version of Sex and the City. Just last week, the cable channel tossed out a to-the-highest-bidder offer for a "sanitized" version of its much-Emmy'd R-rated series about four New York City singles.

But it looks like no one is biting. ABC, NBC and Fox have turned down the offer outright and CBS has not offered comment, though media types predict the Eyeball will ultimately pass, as well.

Aside from the high price tag, reps from the Big Four say they nixed the tame Sex for many other reasons.

"It would have to make fiscal sense for us," NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks told the Associated Press. "Secondly, we feel confident about our own [series] development. Lastly, we don't have any needs at this current time." Same apparently goes for the other networks.

Another concern was that audiences wouldn't want a second, watered-down dose of a show already on the air, in spite of the fact that HBO is only available in a third of the nation's TV households--and the fact that it seems to be done all the freaking time. (Anyone else notice striking similarities between the glut of reality programming dotting the prime-time lineup?)

Others worried it would be hard to snip the racier scenes from the show and maintain its appeal, particularly since each episode would already be cut to 22 minutes from 30 to accommodate commercials. HBO thought it had countered this argument by offering to shoot alternate versions of too-hot-for-TV scenes and by pointing out that the extra viewers could open up a whole new audience for the series. Alas, the networks aren't biting.

This isn't the first time a hit cable show has tried to make the move to the Big Four, but it is rarely done successfully. ABC scored by picking up reruns of USA's Monk, but HBO's track record for repurposed shows is hardly stellar: in the 1990s the net sold toned-down versions of Dream On and Tales From the Crypt to Fox, and both series tanked.

Prime-time sexmongers needn't fret, however. The networks are still offering a host of lower cost sex with the upcoming slate of salacious reality programming. Fox is currently casting for a third season of its titillating tropical vacation relationship killer Temptation Island. The network is also keeping Joe Millionaire viewers on their toes as they eagerly await Monday's show when Evan Marriott chooses between dirty girl Sarah Kozer and good girl Zora. ABC's raunchy Are You Hot: The Search For America's Sexiest People premieres Thursday at 8. And all new editions of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are also in the works on the Alphabet net, as well.

As for the HBO version of SATC, the upcoming sixth season will be the show's last. Twelve episodes featuring Carrie Bradshaw & Co. will air in June, with a further eight shows scheduled for January 2004.
Source: Julie Keller,,1,11266,00.html?tnews

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