Despite low ratings and backlash from media watchdogs over its adult-content aimed at children and teens, the ABC network has renewed its new comedy series "The Real O'Neals" for a second season.
Those figures were down significantly from the show's two preview episodes, which garnered a 1.8/6 rating in 18-49 with 6.3 million viewers overall.
Higher ratings for the preview episodes may have been due, in part, to added attention leading up to the preview from controversy surrounding the show's sometimes explicit content, which often mocks Christianity, leaving both TV watchdogs and many Christian groups up in arms.
The Parents Television Council took issue with ABC for giving "The Real O'Neals" a PG rating. PTC President Tim Winter said the show's over-the-top content exceeded the boundaries of its PG status and is calling for the FCC and Congress to overhaul the TV Content Ratings System, The Christian Post reported earlier this week.
"The amount of explicit content is surprising," Winter told CP about "The Real O'Neals." The TV content expert found it ironic that ABC's parent company, Disney, would stamp a show like "The Real O'Neals" with the same content rating as some of its fairytale fare. "They rate their movies like 'Cinderella' PG, and they're rating this show PG, and I don't know how you could possibly ever put [them] in the same category, but they do."
Winter noted some of the show's objectionable content, which included an episode in which a school vice principal makes light of child molestation when he indicates that he'll be "sleeping with all the other boys" at the school.
To this, Winter asked, "Why should there ever be jokes about pedophilia on television, regardless of its rating? At what point in time do we as a nation want to make jokes and laugh at the idea of a school vice principal having sex with children of the school? I hope the answer is never."
According to a recent study by the PTC, "The Real O'Neals" contained an instance of adult content every 43 seconds. About 83 percent of all the adult-themed content was sexual — the majority of it involving the show's 16-year-old gay main character, Kenny.
In a letter sent to the FCC this week the PTC is leading a coalition of 26 other organizations, including the American Family Association — which recently blasted "The Real O'Neals" for mocking Christianity — in an effort to petition the FCC and members of Congress for TV ratings reform.