With the start of the 2012 fall season, NBC introduces a new controversial program “The New Normal.” This is the first time a show on network television is featuring a gay couple conceiving a child via a gestational carrier.
Before the program even started to air, backlash rippled across the country causing KSL-TV in Utah to refuse to air the program. The group One Million Moms called for a boycott of the show and for sponsors to pull their ads. With all the controversy, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at programs that have been in the hot seat over the last few decades and how they did despite controversy.
All in the Bunker
One of the most popular shows of the 1970s was “All in the Family,” which featured a bigot named Archie Bunker who was openly racist and homophobic. The program broke ground by depicting issues previously considered unsuitable for network TV such as racism, homosexuality and women’s liberation. Even with all the controversy from the start, “All in the Family” went on to rank No. 1 in Nielsen’s yearly ratings and is on TV Guide’s list of the 50 Greatest Shows of all time. The show went on to air successfully for eight seasons.
‘Love & Marriage’
In the mid to late 1980s, FOX aired its first prime time program, “Married … With Children.” The show presented a more realistic view of family life, even though many times it was exaggerated. The show was an instant hit with audiences who found this out-of-the-box family very relatable. The show went on to air for 11 seasons and is on Time Magazine’s 100 Best Shows of all time.
The Good, the Bad & the Canceled
With the good there is always the bad. CBS’s “Public Morals” faced backlash due to vulgar language and humor involving racial stereotypes. The show was cancelled after airing only one episode. The Playboy Club, which partnered with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, only aired three episodes on NBC, and then was cancelled due to low ratings. Critics and audiences felt that the sexuality was too much for prime time TV. Most recently, in the fall of 2011, ABC aired “GCB” (formerly titled “Good Christian Bitches,” then changed to “Good Christian Belles”) and had high hopes of becoming the modern day “Dallas.” In May 2012, the series was canceled by ABC due to pressures from One Million Moms.
How will “The New Normal” fair this fall season? Will the controversy scare audiences away from the start, or will it intrigue viewers to watch and go on to become a hit like those above? We will have to wait and see, but we know one thing for sure: We’ll be watching.
Written by: Angie Neal and Molly Harkins