Feder: MeTV flags objectionable content in 'shows from another era'
Richie Cunningham, the All-American 1950s teenager played by Ron Howard on the long-running sitcom "Happy Days," has a poster on his bedroom wall that bears the image of a Confederate flag, Robert Feder writes.
But you won't see it again as long as the show is running on MeTV. From now on, the flag on Richie's poster will be digitally blurred whenever it appears on the hometown network for "Memorable Entertainment Television."
It's one of numerous judgment calls they're making as Chicago-based MeTV owner Weigel Broadcasting systematically scours its library of reruns from the '60s, '70s and '80s to spot offensive stereotypes and other objectionable material in light of the times.
"We're being responsible, not reactionary," explained Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting and the driving force behind the network he created in 2008. "I'm not a fan of 'cancel culture,' but there are certain episodes and certain things we're taking out and other things we're leaving in. It's an ongoing process."
In all cases, Sabin said, the standard they're applying considers "nuance, intent and the context in which it was done." Westerns and cop shows on MeTV may deal with touchy subjects, but that doesn't automatically render them unacceptable.