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PTC's Annual

Top 10 Best & Worst Family Shows on Network Television

1996-97 TV Season


HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. - Today the Parents Television Council (PTC) released its annual findings of the Top 10 Least Family-Friendly and the Most Family-Friendly shows on prime time television. These lists are based on the 1996-97 season of network prime time entertainment television.

"It was much easier coming up with a list of the least family-friendly programs, proving once again that the vast majority of the prime time schedule is not suitable for family viewing - including those shows which air during the former, 'Family Hour.' However, there are some jewels in this sea of gratuitous sex and vulgar language. Our Top 10 list of family-friendly shows illustrates the fact that storylines do not need to be full of sex and obscenities to attract audiences," said Mark Honig, Executive Director of the Parents Television Council.

The Top Ten Least Family-Friendly Shows for the 1996-97 Television Season

1. Married ....With Children (Fox) Married again leads the list of least family-friendly programs. During its final season on the air (thankfully), the "Bundys," for a short while, brought their disgusting brand of "family values," which included insulting other family members, crude jokes, and bathroom humor, to young viewers at 7:00 p.m. Sundays.

2. Men Behaving Badly (NBC) This raunch-o-rama about two beer-swilling slobs in their twenties who routinely engage in premarital sex and use foul language is inappropriate for children and teens at any hour. Moreover, in a slap in the face to American families, NBC has moved this celebration of slovenly lifestyles to 8:00 p.m. Sundays this fall.

3. Cybill (CBS) This sitcom is littered with foul language and sexual innuendo, and has featured storylines involving phone sex, masturbation and oral sex. The institution of marriage is constantly ridiculed and casual sex condoned.

4. Friends (NBC) In its second year leading off the peacock network's powerful Thursday night lineup, Friends remains randy, its cast of six attractive Manhattanites consistently glorifying premarital sex. Moreover, with few exceptions, this show was rated "TV-PG" under the new industry guidelines, indicating (falsely) that it was suitable for older children and teens, and that most of the material was appropriate for younger viewers, which it simply is not.

5. Spin City (ABC) Foul language, sex, and innuendo are staples of this Michael J. Fox vehicle, which ABC will inappropriately move to 8:00 o'clock next season. Storylines include masturbation, erections, and orgasms. With one of the main characters being gay, frank discussions often take place centering on the dating and relationship methods of homosexuals versus those of heterosexuals.

6. High Incident (ABC) This 8:00 p.m. police drama is more violent than its late-hour counterparts NYPD Blue, Homicide, or Law & Order. Blood, whether from gunfire, stab wounds, fisticuffs, or other means, is a weekly staple. The final episode was a bloody and violent reenactment of the recent North Hollywood bank robbery and ensuing shootout.

7. Melrose Place (Fox) Prime time's sexiest soap continues to glamorize promiscuity without depicting the consequences of such behavior. Characters regularly engage in premarital and extramarital sex and, in the season finale, the show comes out in favor of gay adoption, the lone gay character taking custody of his dead brother's daughter.

8. Beverly Hills 90210 (Fox) The season finale of this teen-targeted soap saw its last remaining virgin ready to succumb to her sexual impulses. Moreover, the other college-aged characters continue their promiscuous lifestyles, none suffering any consequences of their behavior. Dialogue during this 8:00 p.m. show often contains foul language.

9. Life's Work (ABC) This now-canceled 8:30 p.m. show regularly featured sexual innuendo and foul language, including the f-word. One particularly obnoxious episode featured a workplace discussion of a man masturbating against a tree.

10. Millennium (Fox) Millennium is one of the most disturbing shows on television. Storylines feature frank discussions and graphic depictions of gratuitous violence and human suffering. A decapitation, a man set on fire, and women having their vocal chords ripped out of their throats are but a few examples from this gruesome program.

The Top Ten Most Family-Friendly Shows for 1996-97

1. Touched By an Angel (CBS) This top 10 hit is never shy about promoting traditional values such as goodness over evil, the power of prayer, forgiveness, the need to strengthen familial relationships, individual responsibility, and the importance of maintaining faith in God. The underlying theme in every episode focuses on God's unconditional love.

2. Second Noah (ABC) Sadly, Noah, one of prime time's most family-friendly shows, was canceled early in the season. Fans of the show will long remember it for showcasing respect for parental authority, a family that sticks together through adversity, the repercussions of teen sex, and the benefits of adoption.

3. Promised Land (CBS) This Touched By an Angel spin-off showcases a family always willing to make personal sacrifices for the good of the entire family. Faith in God and His plan and the importance of education are woven into each episode.

4. 7th Heaven (WB) The new hit of WB's family-friendly line-up, 7th Heaven features prime time's most positive portrayal of a cleric. Storylines promote honesty, respect for parental authority, and the importance of a strong family and a good education.

5. Early Edition (CBS) This feel-good hit of last season stresses the positive impact that one person can have when they choose to do good with a gift from God. Rather than use his knowledge of the next day's news for personal gain, the show's protagonist demonstrates that self-sacrifice can bring its own riches.

6. Home Improvement (ABC) This top 10 hit proves sitcoms don't need sex, foul language, and innuendo to attract an audience. A strong family and marriage, honesty, respect for parental authority, and the importance of education are recurring themes.

7. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (CBS) This long-running drama continues to promote the institution of marriage and the importance of family. Traditional values like honesty, compassion, respect for parental authority, and a strong work ethic are also frequent themes.

8. The Parent 'Hood (WB) This sitcom features parents who instill in their children that integrity, self-discipline, and a good education are the keys to a successful future. Family loyalty, premarital celibacy, and the positive impact of having a father in the household are also accentuated.

9. Cosby (CBS) Bill Cosby's return to prime time was a welcome sight to American families. His latest sitcom showcases a loving marriage and underscores the importance of family and friends, and the repercussions of mischievous behavior.

10. Family Matters (ABC) The cornerstone of ABC's TGIF line-up for many years will move to CBS this fall. Family Matters promotes respect for parental authority, abstaining from premarital sex, and the positive impact of a loving marriage on the entire family.



Top 10 Best and Worst Shows for family viewing on prime time broadcast TV

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