Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ofcom Finds Broadcast of "Two and a Half Men" Episode a Breach of Broadcasting Code

The UK regulator Ofcom has decided that an episode of the Paramount Studios comedy, Two and a Half Men, which stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer,  should not have aired at 6:30 in the evening when children could have been watching, because that particular episode featured the sexual theme of a "threesome." Ofcom received one complaint about the episode, titled "Four Balls, Two Bats and One Mitt," which triggered the investigation.

Paramount agreed that the episode should not have aired during that time period, and apologized. The Licensee announced that "as a result of this incident it had reviewed its internal compliance processes to ensure that programmes with a "Not Near Kids" rating would automatically not be transmitted" between 4 and 7 p.m. on week days. 

Ofcom noted that Paramount accepted the impropriety of the airing of the episode, that no warning was broadcast prior to the episode's airing, and also that the show is a comedy, and "`humorous and light hearted.'"  The agency concluded that the licensee had breached Rule 1.3, which states that broadcasters must protect children from inappropriate scheduling and content through timing, material, and expectations of the audience. Coverage here from The Guardian.

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