advocacy group that urged a boycott of NBC's recently
canceled drama about a pill-popping priest turned its wrath
on Thursday to an upcoming Will & Grace
episode that it says will mock Christ's crucifixion.
But NBC executives insist the group's objections stem
from faulty details in a press release mistakenly
issued by the network earlier this week and that neither a
script nor story line for the episode in question has
religious flap at NBC flared after the network announced on
Tuesday that pop star Britney Spears will make an April 13
guest appearance on Will & Grace playing a
Christian conservative talk-show sidekick to Jack, the gay
character portrayed by series regular Sean Hayes.
According to NBC's initial synopsis of the episode,
Jack's fictional TV network, Out TV, is taken over by
a Christian broadcaster, leading Spears's character to do a
cooking segment on his show called "Cruci-fixins."
Family Association immediately raised objections to the
planned episode, saying it "mocks the crucifixion of Christ"
and will "further denigrate Christianity" by airing
the night before Good Friday. On its Web site, the
Mississippi-based advocacy group called on its
supporters to urge network affiliates to refuse to run the
episode and to write letters of protest to NBC.
that the dispute stems from an inaccurate press release
that went out without being properly vetted. "Some erroneous
information was mistakenly included in a press release
describing an upcoming episode of Will &
Grace, which in fact has yet to be written," NBC
spokeswoman Rebecca Marks told Reuters late in the
day. All that has been decided is that Spears will
play a central role in an upcoming episode that will likely
air sometime in April, Marks added.
There was no
immediate comment from representatives for Spears, whose
guest spot on the gay-themed sitcom will mark her first
public performance since she had her first child in
also urged an affiliate and advertising boycott of the
recent NBC series The Book of Daniel, a drama
starring Aidan Quinn as a Vicodin-addicted Episcopal
minister who talks to Jesus. NBC, a unit of the
General Electric Co., yanked the program from its
schedule last month after just three weeks on the air,
citing low ratings. The network also had trouble
finding commercial sponsors for the show, and several
smaller affiliates declined to carry the series,
objecting to its portrayal of Christian themes. (Steve