Another Station Drops "Book of Daniel"

I already blasted this television show as being offensive to Christians. Apparently it started airing this week, and NBC affiliates are dropping “Book of Daniel.” This Nashville station was the 7th to drop it this week.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – NBC’s Nashville affiliate has closed “The Book of Daniel” after the show, whose main character is a pill-popping Episcopal priest with a gay son and a pot-dealing daughter, drew thousands of complaints.

WSMV-TV General Manager Elden Hale Jr. said he decided to pull the show starring Aidan Quinn after NBC rejected the station’s request to air it overnight instead of during “family viewing time.”

Despite its third-place finish nationally, the show won its time slot last Friday in the Nashville TV market.

Hale said viewers objected to the language, the sexual content and the portrayal of Jesus, who appears to Quinn’s character for regular chats.

WSMV’s general voice mailbox shut down within 20 hours of the airing of the two-hour premiere last Friday because 137 complaint messages jammed the machine, WSMV officials said. There also were complaints via e-mail and regular mail, including letters bearing church letterheads.

“Over the years, other shows have generated as much or more reaction, but this wasn’t a cut-and-paste reaction where a national group says, ‘Please send an e-mail to your station’ and every e-mail is the same,” Hale said. “These were individually crafted, considered, well-thought, well-reasoned e-mails and phone calls.”

NBC defended the show Thursday, issuing this statement: “The Book of Daniel is a quality fictional drama about an Episcopalian priest’s family and the contemporary issues with which they must grapple. We’re confident that our viewers can appreciate this creative depiction of one American family and will understand it to be an entertaining work of fiction.”

WSMV is one of seven NBC affiliates, most of them in the South, that have decided not to air “The Book of Daniel.” In three of those markets — Little Rock, Ark., Amarillo, Tex., and Terre Haute, Ind. — non-NBC stations have agreed to air the show. It isn’t clear if NBC is shopping it to another Nashville station.

NBC’s statement shows they don’t understand Red State America. We don’t want an “entertaining work of fiction” that shows Christianity in a bad light.

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27 thoughts on “Another Station Drops "Book of Daniel"

  1. We’re confident that our viewers can appreciate this creative depiction of one American family and will understand it to be an entertaining work of fiction.

    It’s too easy for entertainment groups to hide behind this type of thinking. The media and entertainment industry has built itself up to be a major force of influence in society and then when complaints arise they play the it’s-only-fiction card.

    I hadn’t heard about this program until reading about it here. It must not have as big a presence up here in Canada. Or I’ve been living under a rock.

    Good to see viewer complaints are being heard.

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  2. I see no reason to pollute my mind unecessarily, so no, I didn’t. I read the synopsis, the producer’s comments, and reports from other well-regarded Christians that I feel blessed that I didn’t subject myself to it.

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  3. That’s a shame. Because it was actually very respectful. I won’t be watching it again, because I didn’t particularly care for the writing – trying too hard to bottle the “Desperate Housewives” lightening and not succeeding. But I looked pretty hard, and didn’t see anything objectionable in it.

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  4. I already know from previous discussions on The DaVinci Code that you and I have different ideas about what is offensive. The Jesus portrayed in the show, for instance, shrugs his shoulders about a teenager’s sexual escapades with “He’s a kid, let him be a kid.” So much for the real Christ’s sacrifice – this Jesus thinks sins ain’t so bad.

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  5. Well, considering the “Jesus” in the show isn’t actually Jesus, and he wasn’t talking about “sexual escapades” when he made the “let him be a kid” remark, I’d say that actually watching something rather than gettintg information second-hand from someone who hasn’t watched it either is a better method for determining if something is offensive.

    Not saying that you and I still wouldn’t differ over whether we found a particular something offensive – just that finding something offensive and deciding that it is offensive without really knowing what it is are two different things.

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  6. […] There has been a bit of a Christian backlash against this show, leading to it being cancelled in some markets. (See Chasing the Wind’s post on this.) On the one hand, we have a TV show that is offensive to many Christians, including me. It portrays us in a bad, and I feel, unrealistic light. I mean, in how many families are ALL of those problems present? You might find a pastor’s family with one, maybe two of those problems, but not all. It’s ridiculous, and it implies that Christians are just like the rest of the world, so isn’t faith pointless? And the idea that Jesus winks at sin, or condones teen sex in any way is ridiculous. […]

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  7. There is a difference between saying “that doesn’t sound like something that I would like” and saying “that is bad”.

    The fact remains that those who spoke out against the show before it aired had not yet seen it. You’re comfortable letting someone who hasn’t seen something tell you it’s not fit to be seen. I’m not. Vive la difference.

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  8. Could you point me to them? Because everything you’ve linked so far was written by someone who hadn’t seen it yet (or gave no indication that they had seen it) And though I read a lot of stuff from people protesting this before it aired, none of them had seen it, either. I’d be interested to see the opinion of someone who actually saw it.

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  9. I suppose you’re looking for quotes that say, “I saw the show, and this is what I think.” Most people don’t write that way. From the content, though, it’s obvious they watched the show, some quoting liberally. I gathered opinions from Brent Bozell III (founder and president of Parents Television Council), Rev. Donald Wildmon (head of American Family Association) and David DiCerto (Office for Film and Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).

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  10. If you’re talking about the articles you already linked, then no, I don’t think it’s obvious they watched the show at all. In fact, after seeing the show, I’d say it’s pretty obvious they didn’t see it. But, whatever. If you’re happy, you’re happy.

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  11. So, am I happy, or should I rather be “enlightened”?
    I am easily confused.

    Let’s see…Hollywood? Yes, I know them – blechh.
    Christianity? Yes, know that too

    Christianity + Hollywood = ?

    Wait, there is a time function I’m missing – pre-1965 movies often featured Yul Brenner or Charlton Heston….so

    (Christianity + Hollywood)-50 years +(Heston or Brenner) = Good stuff.

    Things have changed today, no?

    I have no problem NOT seeing the show. I have too much experience to believe that I need to see it.

    Paint me jaundiced.

    Cheers.

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  12. Who said anything about needing to see the show in order to be enlightened? I do, however, believe one needs to see the show to be able to make an informed judgement about it.

    What I don’t understand is why making one’s own decisions rather than having them spoon-fed is a bad thing.

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  13. And my own decision is to avoid shows that show conservative values in a bad light, and it is valid to base that decision on the respected opinion of others. Based on my own experience, first hand experience of some things are more detrimental than positive.

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  14. Jo, oh enlightened one, (yes, he said in an accusatory tone) – perhaps one day we can all consider everything without using our hard won experiential discrimination and we will all live in a world where everyone can believe anything or everything and no one can comment on anything without personally having the experience that everyone else has had so we can all agree to disagree on everthing.

    Or perhaps, if I find out that Fear Factor has episode eating animal [censored] as a game – I just won’t watch it.

    Criminy – your enlightenment is showing.

    What yardstick do you use to make a decision?

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  15. What yardstick do I use to make a decision about what?

    I can certainly decide whether I have an interest in watching something without actually watching it. But I can’t make an informed argument about what it really is or isn’t if I haven’t seen it.

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  16. Michael, why do you think this show portrays conservative values in a bad light? Sure, it’s about a priest who has family problems – where in the show does it indicate that 1)the problems are the result of conservative values, 2)the characters in the show are meant to be typical of any particular lifestyle or viewpoint, 3)the problems in the show are limited to conservatives?

    If the lead character were a plumber, would that make the show acceptable? Is it the idea that a priest might have a less than perfect family that makes it offensive?

    I’m not trying to argue – I’m trying to understand. Why is the idea that a man of the cloth could be addicted to painkillers offensive? Does this never happen? Are conservatives somehow immune to the human weaknesses that affect other groups?

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  17. Of course not. Many problems are the same, though not all combined into one gay and lesbian, drug using, promiscuous, depression filled alcoholic family. In a conservative chuch, biblically speaking the pastor is required to meet certain conditions or step down. (1 Timothy 5:17-18, for example; I’m having trouble with my research because I’m traveling, but I can expound later. This man has so many troubles, there’s no way he should be leading a congregation by example.

    The Jesus portrayed is so permissive as to almost seem cartoonish. Jesus tells us that if we wish to be His disciples, we must follow Him. Is this priest following Jesus? No, he going his own way and dragging Jesus behind him. He’s using a way-too-tolerant Jesus to give tacit approval to the priest’s sins. In doing this, the producers are portraying Christian leadership as far more flawed than the average American, implying that relying on Jesus is insufficient.

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  18. Interesting take. Which sins do you see as the priest’s? What did he do that makes you think he is following his own way? One thing I noticed about the show is that even though he’s supposedly addicted to painkillers, he never actually takes them – when he pulls out the bottle, “Jesus” (who isn’t Jesus) shows up and he thinks better of it. Although I left the room a couple of times and might have missed where he was popping pills.

    Is the Episcopal church considered conservative? I always thought it was considered a pretty liberal demonination, what with allowing women clergy and all. But I’m not Episcopalian, so my experience is limited to observing friends who are.

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  19. I saw last night that the network dropped the show.

    Perhaps we can look forward to “Muk-luks for Mohammed” – in which a suprised substitute imam learns his new asignment is to build a mosque in small town Alaska where he attempts to convert the local infidels. Yuks for all.

    Wait, that’s been done with a Jewish Doctor from NYC, hasn’t it?

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