FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2006
Gibson's film, ‘The Passion of the Christ,' there was a lot of talk
that Hollywood finally had found religion. But with television,
sadly that wasn't true. In fact, it was the opposite. This study
documents that after 2004, the portrayals of religion have been cut
in half, and are now overwhelmingly more negative.
According to a recent Zogby/American Bible Society
poll, 84% of adults are not offended when they hear references to
God or the Bible on network television shows, and 51% say
entertainment networks should develop shows with positive messages –
and even specifically refer to God and the Bible.
In this seventh PTC study examining the treatment of
religious content on television, an entire year of prime-time
broadcast programming was analyzed. The PTC examined a total of
2,271.5 hours of programming containing 1,425 treatments of
Religion is shown
than in past years -
There were half as many portrayals of religion in 2005-2006
(1,425) as in 2003-2004 (2,344).
portrayed more negatively - In
2005-2006, there were more negative depictions of religion than
positive ones (35% to 34%). Depictions of aspects affiliated
with organized religion (clergy, doctrine or laity) were mostly
Reality shows are
more positive towards religion
- The format of the program was a significant factor in the
portrayal which religion received. A majority (57.8%) of the
positive portrayals of religion were to be found on reality
programs. By contrast, an overwhelming percentage (95.5%) of the
negative portrayals of religion came from such
Hollywood-scripted drama and comedy programs; only 4.5% of
negative portrayals of religion were found on reality shows.
Fox was by far
the most anti-religious network
- One in every two (49.3%) portrayals of religion on the Fox
network was negative. Long-time champion NBC came in second in
negative depictions of religion, with well over a third (39.3%)
of such portrayals being negative. Among other networks, over a
third (35.4%) of depictions of religion on UPN was also
negative. ABC registered 30.4% and CBS 29% negative portrayals.
The WB network featured the fewest negative depictions of
Later hours of
prime time are more negative towards religion
- The number of negative portrayals increased
steadily with each hour of prime-time. Negative treatments
constituted 31.9 % of all treatments in the 8 pm hour, 33.9 % in
the 9 pm hour and 44.4% in the 10 pm hour. At no time during
prime time, and on no network did the positive portrayal of
religion even hit the 50% mark.
non-clerical individuals who profess religious faith – were
treated most negatively by entertainment programs
- Over half (50.8%) of all entertainment
television's depictions of laity were negative. Only 26% were
were critical - Close
behind in negative portrayal were religious institutions (such
as particular denominations, specific religious beliefs or
direct references to Scripture), nearly half (47.6%) of which
were negative. By contrast, only 18% of depictions of religious
institutions were positive.
Clergy shown in a
negative light - Prime-time
television's portrayal of clergy was also heavily weighted, with
less than a third (30.4%) of depictions of and references to
clergy being positive, and another two-thirds being negative or
faith shown positively - Only
in depictions of religious faith – showing individuals making a
simple declaration of belief in God or a higher power, or
praying – was television's portrayal of religion largely
positive. Over two-thirds (69.6%) of such portrayals were
positive, with less than one-sixth (14.7%) being negative.
clearly documents the complete disconnect
between Hollywood's attitude toward religion and that of the
read the full
study, "Faith in a Box 2005-2006,"
To schedule an
interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext.
140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.
The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence
and profanity on television and in other media. This national
grassroots organization has over one million members across the
United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters,
networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and
negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with
elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast
decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical
research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex,
violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is
provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices
for their own families.