AGENDA OF “NOTHING SACRED” EXPOSED
Catalyst December 1997, Front Page
The Catholic League’s protest of the ABC show, “Nothing Sacred,” has succeeded in exposing the agenda of Disney/ABC/20th Century Fox.
From the beginning, the league has maintained that this show was conceived not as entertainment first, but as propaganda. There is now overwhelming evidence that the league’s contention was right.
The networks subject all shows to the litmus test of ratings: if they’re good, they stay, if not, they go. This is not true of “Nothing Sacred.” Unlike other shows, “Nothing Sacred” does not live or die by ratings, rather it lives despite its awful response with the public. And the reason it lives is because there is a strong ideological investment on the part of its backers, one that is so strong that they are willing to lose money for the sake of keeping their political agenda alive.
Here’s the proof. ABC has canceled “Time Cop” and “Over the Top,” even though these shows posted better ratings than “Nothing Sacred.” It has announced that it will not extend the show, “You Wish,” beyond its initial run of 13 shows, even though the ratings for this show are far better than “Nothing Sacred’s.” It has put “Hiller and Diller” on the shelf for a month, even though its ratings are spectacular compared to those of “Nothing Sacred’s.” The reason is simple: these four shows have no agenda undergirding them.
As if more proof is necessary, consider the following. On October 23, ABC placed full-page ads in every major newspaper in the nation defending “Nothing Sacred.” They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars quoting four priests who have spoken highly of the show. This, of course, is unprecedented: when has any network spent so much money advertising a show that has done so badly?
Then there were the ads by Kevin Anderson, the actor who plays Father Ray. Sitting in a chair, Anderson pleads with the public to make up their own minds whether the show is “controversial,” “blasphemous” or the “best new drama on TV.” Again, no show with ratings as bad as “Nothing Sacred” has ever received such treatment.
ABC has announced that it is standing by “Nothing Sacred” and has ordered a full-season of 22 shows. Unfazed, the Catholic League remains resolute in its commitment to do what it can to upend the show (see story inside).