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UNI professor says TV's quiet move toward adult content goes unnoticed by viewers<br>

November 5, 2002

Christopher Martin, associate professor of communication studies, (319) 273-2788
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

This season, the ABC drama 'NYPD Blue,' an ABC drama, aired an episode that featured a character uttering the word 'bullshit.' The groundbreaking event was greeted with a chorus of yawns from the viewing public. Those who didn't yawn were too busy being apathetic.

'It's the influence of cable,' said Chris Martin, associate professor of communication studies at UNI. 'And although television shows are now rated, studies show that parents aren't paying much attention. In some ways, it has given permission to the networks to loosen up and push the envelope on the kinds of things they show.'

Martin said the viewing public is much less sensitive to fare that is sexually explicit, or features violence and graphic language. 'The standards have shifted overt the past decade, especially in terms of language. There used to be seven words that you never said on the air -- most of those have now been on during prime time. And there hasn't been too much flinching.'