Catalyst November Issue 2009, Front Page
In the October Catalyst, we described how bad the Penn & Teller season finale was on Showtime, asking members to let their voices be heard by contacting CBS, owner of Showtime. As always, they did not disappoint—CBS got walloped.
On October 15, Bill Donohue received a call from the same high-ranking CBS official with whom he spoke earlier. He pleaded with Donohue to take down the video of the show that we posted on our website. Technically, CBS had a legal right to go after us as we never received permission from them to post it. But we knew that if they did, it would be a PR bust for them: then the public would know exactly what kind of show they were associated with.
Donohue was told that Showtime and CBS were being inundated with sharp criticism, including threats. Donohue admitted there were crazies on his side, but was quick to say that there were crazies on CBS’ side, as well, including two on their payroll, namely, Penn & Teller. When the broadcasting executive got testy, Donohue stood his ground. In the end, Donohue agreed to voluntarily take the video down, but not on that day.
If Showtime brings back Penn & Teller, we don’t expect we will have to issue another news release (not because we trust them). Recall that we sent a copy of the video to every bishop in the nation, as well as to many other religious and secular leaders; they made their voice heard, as well. The message, it is safe to say, has been delivered.