Aug 17, 2001, (New York Times /FT Information via COMTEX) -- CBS has elected to drop reruns of several episodes of "Family Law" after Procter & Gamble objected to what it regarded as controversial content and said it would withdraw its advertising.

Industry executives say it is unusual--and worrying--to see a single advertiser exert so much influence over a network. Procter & Gamble, the maker of such products as Secret anti-perspirant, Head & Shoulders shampoo, and Tide laundry detergent, is one of the biggest advertisers on the networks, and an important contract in a lean advertising market.

The episode of "Family Law" scheduled to run last Monday was replaced with another episode. It involved a child custody case that centers on the mother's ownership of a handgun.

[Nevertheless, in an A.P. report on the incident, CBS claimed that it does not allow its advertisers to dictate programming decisions. "This was an ordinary, internal decision in the process of scheduling summer reruns," CBS spokesman Gil Schwartz said. The A.P. also has CBS on record saying that it will re-air the same episode next month, after its sales department has more time to fill the advertising time.]

Procter & Gamble had also withdrawn advertising the first time the episode was run, but at that time CBS was able to find alternative advertisers. Procter & Gamble has also objected to episodes dealing with the death penalty, abortion and interfaith marriage.
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