Feder: MeTV flags objectionable content in 'shows from another era'

  • From now on, the flag on Richie Cunningham's poster in "Happy Days" will be digitally blurred whenever it appears on the hometown network for "Memorable Entertainment Television."

    From now on, the flag on Richie Cunningham's poster in "Happy Days" will be digitally blurred whenever it appears on the hometown network for "Memorable Entertainment Television."

 
 
Updated 7/8/2020 6:36 AM

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.

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.