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Howie Do It

Rating: TV-PG DLS

Network: NBC


Actor and comedian Howie Mandel has become known to a new generation as the genial host of the clean and inoffensive game show Deal or No Deal; but viewers expecting Howie’s other prime-time show to be equally family-friendly should beware. Mandel’s new hidden camera reality show Howie Do It frequently crosses the line into tawdriness. The show seems deliberately designed to deceive at first glance: in an opening prank, Howie may trick someone into giving away a credit card or a piece of jewelry; harmless enough, viewers may think. But it is not until an unsuspecting “mark” bursts into a fit of bleeped foul language that viewers realize that Howie Do It is far from being another family-friendly Friday night game show.


Since the show’s January 9th premiere, Howie Do It has been inconsistently rated. Its rating has varied between TV-14, to TV-PG with various content descriptors, all the way down to TV-PG with no descriptors. However, the program has consistently contained profanity and often sexual situations as well. In a scenario that has been featured on the show multiple times in episodes rated TV-PG DLS, a married couple is hired to act in a mouthwash commercial. The husband and wife are instructed to kiss passionately in bed. However, the ad executive for the mouthwash company doesn’t think their kissing is passionate enough and orders the husband to get out of bed. The executive then gets into bed with the man’s wife and kisses her passionately, licks her arm, and puts his leg on top of her. Everyone, including the wife, is in on the prank -- except for her unsuspecting husband. Later, the ad executive throws his underwear out of the bed and lies next to the wife completely naked.  The husband accuses him of trying to make a pornographic movie with his wife; the executive tells the husband that he doesn’t understand why he is upset. Yet NBC thinks that this kind of content is acceptable is for young children to watch, with just a little bit of parental guidance.


Howie Do It is a far cry from Howie Mandel’s usual family-friendly fare on Deal or No Deal, or even the type of content on previous programs that used a similar concept, such as Candid Camera. After luring viewers with a supposedly harmless premise, complete with a host who has a proven record of family-friendly programming, NBC pulls the rug out from under viewers with foul language, sexual content and incorrect ratings. Ultimately, Howie Do It‘s biggest prank of all is the one it plays on its viewers.


If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.


For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/contact.asp.

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