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Press Release

November 10, 2009


PTC Reacts to “Gossip Girl” Threesome Episode


LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2009) – The Parents Television Council® issued a statement in reaction to the teen-targeted “Gossip Girl” episode that aired on Nov. 9.  The CW Network’s own promotions indicated that major characters would be featured in a sexual threesome.  “Gossip Girl” airs at 9 pm ET/PT and 8 pm CT/MT.


“Though there was no explicit sex scene on last night’s episode, the CW Network’s behavior was grossly irresponsible by adding a story line where a sexual threesome was to be celebrated as some sort of ‘rite of passage’ for teenagers.  The network inserted this story line into a program that they themselves deem to be appropriate for 14-year-old children based on its content rating,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“CW has stated that last night’s episode is not the end of the story, teasing next week’s ‘Gossip Girl’ episode as continuing the ‘threesome’ storyline.  And the network’s claim that it isn’t trying to reach impressionable teenagers falls flat given that their own press release from September 2009 touts the fact that ‘Gossip Girl’ won in the ratings among women ages 12-34, and that when ‘Gossip Girl’ is paired with ‘One Tree Hill,’ these shows during the 8-10 pm block have finished first with females 12-34 and female teens.


“Advertisements for ‘Gossip Girl’ have heavily featured themes and wording that only move minors to view the program, such as ‘Every Parent’s Nightmare.’  Such marketing tactics clearly appeal to teens, not adult women.  Also, ‘Gossip Girl’ creator Josh Schwartz has boasted, ‘I can honestly say that I don’t check the ratings after the show airs,’ because he knows that a vast majority of his viewers – tech-savvy teens – are watching the program online.


“Advertisers and CW affiliates still need to be on guard.  CW affiliates have told the PTC that the network did not afford them an opportunity to pre-screen the program.  We urge each affiliate to evaluate the content within the scope of their broadcast license that was loaned to them in return for serving the public interest.”


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, 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 more than 1.3 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.




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