That was a deft bit of hand-wringing by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt on Sunday as he explained concerns about the programming on his network in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
“It weighs on all of us,” he told reporters. “Most of the people at this network have children and really care about the shows we’re putting out there. It’s always something that’s been on our mind but this brought it to the forefront.”
NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke was less concerned, contending that NBC isn’t a “shoot ’em up” network.”
But as The Associated Press pointed out, an hour after the executives spoke, NBC had a press conference on its hit show “Revolution,” that “included a swordfight, a standoff between two men with guns, a bloodied man, a building blown up with a flying body and a gunfight.”
Imagine if NBC really were a “shoot ’em up” network.
More context: The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Mr. Greenblatt was head of programming at Showtime when it presented the serial killer hit, “Dexter,” which has run “eight blood-soaked seasons.”
And after moving to NBC, Mr. Greenblatt undertook the development of “Hannibal,” a serial killer program modeled after the movie “Silence of the Lambs,” the Times reported.
The further adventures of Hannibal Lecter aren’t expected to include graphic murders on screen, though viewers will get a look at the dead bodies lying around, presumably for the benefit of narrative coherence.
But will viewers also get a peek at the culinary habits of “Hannibal the Cannibal”?
Well, stay tuned.
Mr. Greenblatt pointed the finger at movies and video games for violent content, and with some justification.
Both are generally more violent than what appears on broadcast television. In fact, the top-grossing movie last weekend was “Chainsaw 3-D,” which is not about logging, followed by “Django Unchained,” which is not about a famous jazz guitarist.
Clearly, there’s a huge market for violence, and the entertainment industry is doing what it can to meet it.
And it does so even as its executives downplay the corrosive effect it might be having on children and popular culture.
“We try to be mindful, and we are sensitive to it,” Mr. Greenblatt said.
All the way through the ratings wars, all the way to the bank.
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