Sponsors skittish about FX's gay-inclusive The Shield

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 10 2002 11:00 PM ET

While critics are lauding the new FX series The Shield--which features a closeted gay cop coming to terms with his sexuality--the new drama is too hot for some sponsors, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So far, Burger King, Office Depot, New Balance, and Tricon Global Restaurants (which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) have pulled out of the show due to its envelope-pushing content. "We want programming that appeals to our consumers and reflects our brands," said a Tricon spokeswoman. "We've asked our media-buying representatives to make sure that our commercials don't air on the program."

FX officials contend that the show carries a content advisory warning and that the demographic ratings for The Shield--96% of all viewers of the show are 18 years old or older--prove that the advisory is keeping younger viewers from the program's strong depiction of violence, its language, and its sexual situations. "Whenever you've got a show that pushes buttons, you'll have advertisers who'll be squeamish," one media buyer tells the Reporter. "Remember NYPD Blue? Advertisers dropped it but then later, when [the controversy] died down, came back."

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