In a remarkable article in today’s Los Angeles Times, columnist Howard Rosenberg reveals the tumult over “Nothing Sacred” that Disney, ABC and Twentieth Century Fox are enduring.

ABC has apparently decided not to air a show about a gay priest who has AIDS. Originally scheduled to air as the second episode, this particular show has been put on ice several times and now it looks like it’s been retired once and for all. The reaction of Richard Kramer, once co-executive producer of the show and now a consulting producer, was vintage boilerplate: “ABC’s decision to bury it was based on cowardice, cruelty and co-option of the religious right’s agenda.” Rosenberg made it clear that the Catholic League was responsible for nixing this episode.

Twentieth Century Fox, which produces the show, is in a huff with ABC over this. Its president, Sandy Grushow, has told ABC that he would ask Fox to buy unsold commercial time for the episode, but ABC won’t budge. And Disney chief Michael Eisner is now being blasted by critics like Rosenberg for backing away from his pledge just last Monday not to cave into “interest groups.”

Catholic League president William Donohue commented on this flap:

“There’s never been anything quite like this. The specter of the big boys at Disney, ABC and Twentieth Century Fox all scurrying around pointing fingers at each other, emptying their wallets, baring their ideological agenda—all because Catholics caught on to their game.

“In a vain attempt to save their dying show, ABC is supposed to hold another press conference on ‘Nothing Sacred’ on January 14. But someone should tell them that it’s already too late to call the doctor—the patient has been taken to the morgue.”

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