PTC Calls On The CW to Tone Down Graphic Violence, Adult Content in Comic Book-Themed TV Shows

Written by PTC | Published August 4, 2019

ArrowInfograph The Parents Television Council urged The CW to tone down its comic book-themed TV shows that are inherently attractive to children in order to make them more child-friendly. New PTC research has documented extreme graphic violence, profanity, and sexual content in The CW shows: Arrow, Black Lightning, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Riverdale. “The PTC has documented graphic, adult-themed content that is appearing in The CW programming based on historically child-friendly franchises. Network programming executives – and the creative community in Hollywood – must remember that these programs were built on the backs of children and on the wallets of their parents. Those same executives know that these programs are inherently attractive to kids, and they know kids are watching. Compelling and entertaining stories – and even adult-themed stories – can be told without resorting to the crutch of graphic sex, violence and profanity. For decades, child-friendly franchises were huge commercial successes without explicit content. They can be just as successful today without that explicit content. As The CW showcases its upcoming fare, including Nancy Drew, we urge the network to be considerate of its young audiences and tone down the adult content,” said PTC President Tim Winter. The PTC urged The CW to emulate Supergirl and The Flash, given that these two CW shows were deemed the “safest” for families to watch in report. In its new research of comic book-themed programming with particular appeal to children, the PTC found that young viewers were exposed to over 6,000 incidents of violence, over 500 deaths, and almost 2,000 profanities. Specifically, the PTC found the following on The CW:
  • The most violent program was CW’s Arrow. Young viewers witnessed 1,241 acts of violence, including 310 deaths, 280 instances of gun violence, and 26 scenes of people being tortured. They also heard 492 profanities.
  • In only eight episodes, CW’s Black Lightning featured 19 deaths, 111 profanities, and 212 acts of violence.
  • The CW series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow included 77 instances of sexual content, 785 instances of violence (including 67 deaths and 11 scenes of torture), and 368 profanities.
  • The CW’s series Riverdale, based on Archie Comics, featured 78 instances of sexual content, 242 instances of violence, 153 profanities and scenes of casual drug use – especially disturbing, since every main character in the series (including Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica) is a teenager still in high school.
The full report, along with images for download and video clips with examples from the study, can be found here:

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