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Why a Struggling CBS Should Revisit Its "Standards"


Turning down a Super Bowl ad for gay dating site is no way to remain relevant.

Super Bowl Sunday is less than a week away and, unless you've been cut off from any and all forms of media, you're undoubtedly aware of CBS's (CBS) rejection of a commercial submitted by, a gay dating website.

"After reviewing the ad, which is entirely commercial in nature, our standards and practices department decided not to accept this particular spot," said CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs.

As reported on CNNMoney, CBS told the Toronto-based dating site that the ad "is not within the Network's broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday."

The ad shows two men watching the Super Bowl. Their hands accidentally touch when they both reach for a potato chip, after which they begin to kiss:

One would think CBS, which is struggling along with other broadcast networks to remain relevant in today's media world, would welcome the extra $3 million from an advertiser willing to pay cash -- especially as the news division at CBS News is lay off as many as 100 people this week, or 7% of its 1,400-person staff.

So, the ad "is not within the Network's broadcast standards."

An ad from Boost Mobile, a Sprint/Nextel (S) subsidiary, was within those standards, and it's far more suggestive than the offering from The animated spot depicted Mrs. Claus cuckolding Santa by having an affair with a snowman. The two are shown in bed together, with the snowman calling her "so dirty" and Mrs. Claus calling him a "nasty boy". Mrs. Claus then turns to the viewer and says, "You think this is wrong? Santa's busy and I have needs. I'll tell you what's wrong -- cell phone plans with contracts that cost a fortune. That's why I got Boost Mobile."

We then hear Santa surprise Mrs. Claus, saying, "Honey, I'm home!", whereupon Mrs. Claus whips out a hairdryer and melts the snowman gigolo away.

CBS is even running ads for its own shows, which appear to go far beyond the limits they set on others.

A CBS Web promo for the children's holiday classic Frosty the Snowman this past Christmas was re-cut, re-voiced, and re-titled "Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman", which featured Frosty discussing his porn collection, S&M, strippers, and more, with young children surrounding him, hanging on his every word:

Exactly how does CBS decide what's acceptable and what isn't?

Here's a passage from the CBS Program Practices:

The Program Practices editors review material for excessive or gratuitous violence, sexuality, nudity and inappropriate language. They ensure that character portrayals are sensitive to current ethnic, religious, sexual and other significant social concerns. When controversial issues are addressed in entertainment programming, they review the material for balance and accuracy.
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