NYPD Blue No ruckus here

Some years ago, producer Steven Bochco's Hill Street Blues on nbc set new standards - and new directions - for crime drama on tv.This year, Bochco's new show NYPD Blue, about a pair of mismatched cops in New York, is also...

Some years ago, producer Steven Bochco’s Hill Street Blues on nbc set new standards – and new directions – for crime drama on tv.

This year, Bochco’s new show NYPD Blue, about a pair of mismatched cops in New York, is also setting standards – for notoriety.

The one-hour pilot for the series, bought by The CTV Television Network to air in Canada this fall, features occasional profanity, partial nudity and graphic violence.

It has already raised the ire of conservatives and some liberals in the u.s., and has made more than one American advertiser leery about buying network time on the show.

In Canada, there has been no such moral indignation about the ABC-20th Century Fox series.

In fact, on cbc tv, the British-Australian five-part series, The Camomile Lawn, has featured profanity, male and female nudity, and explicit simulated sex to no perceptible public outcry.

However, cbc-tv does broadcast a warning about the Second World War-era show’s content before the program starts.

Paul Robertson, vice-president of sales and marketing at ctv, says NYPD Blue is scheduled in an adult slot – Tuesdays at 10 p.m. beginning Sept. 21.

David Hamilton, a spokesman for the Global Television Network, says although Global has bought Bochco’s other shows – L.A. Law, Cop Rock, Hill Street Blues and Civil Wars – and met the producer about NYPD Blue, it did not make an offer for the new show.

Robertson, who says the drama is ‘really powerful programming,’ admits the pilot had ‘five or six pretty rough spots,’ but notes Bochco is working with abc to smooth them out.

As for advertising on the show, Robertson is circumspect.

He declines to name the advertisers buying time on NYPD Blue, saying such information is a confidential matter between network and client.

However, Robertson does say that, on balance, more advertisers than usual are taking a pass on the putative No. 1 new show.

Kate Potter, media director at Labatt Breweries of Canada in Toronto, says her company has bought fewer than 20 network spots on NYPD Blue, although what will be advertised has not yet been nailed down.

Potter says the buy ‘is not a significant purchase.’

She says Labatt bought the show because it will deliver the brewery’s target audience.

Freda Colbourne, a spokeswoman for Molson Breweries, also in Toronto, says the company does not reveal its media plans, but confirms the brewery is considering NYPD Blue.

Insiders familiar with tv advertising suggest other firms likely to buy time on NYPD Blue are in the automotive, financial services and sporting goods industries.

Given the cost of buying NYPD Blue – a media source says ctv paid twice the market price for the new show – making money on it from advertising could be problematic.

Networks buy big new properties such as Bochco’s latest effort so they can charge premiums on their ad rates because of the large audiences hit shows attract, and, says the source, because they drive advertising sales for other programs.

But, the source continues, the jury is out on ctv making a profit on NYPD Blue, although it should break even.

A second media source suggests ctv paid in the ‘high 80s’ (high $80,000) for each episode of NYPD Blue, but will not get more than $65,000 in ad revenue for each episode even if every second of the allowed 12 minutes of advertising time is sold.

The controversy about violence on tv is an issue in u.s. Congressional hearings

At one hearing, Atlanta-based cable magnate Ted Turner said there is too much gratuitous violence on the networks – including his own – and it was time Congress imposed rules on them.

Published reports in the u.s. say the four networks, abc, nbc, cbs and Fox, have agreed to give viewers on-air warnings just before they broadcast programs full of violence.