CBS Teen Orgy Scares The WB Into Hiding Bi-Curious Antics On Web

Last week's stunning $3.6 million fine of CBS for its now-infamous Without a Trace "teen orgy scene" has other network executives crapping their collective pants in fear, as they realize that the venerated practice of using some primetime-boundary-pushing sex for an easy Nielsen spike may have expensive consequences. Today, the NY Times reports that The WB has willingly self-censored the first episode of its soon-to-premiere series The Bedford Diaries (the first time we'd ever heard of the show—if this is a publicity stunt, nice job! It's working.), banishing the slightly racier, lesbian-lite version to their web site:

The pilot episode of "The Bedford Diaries," which concerns a group of college students attending a class on human sexuality, had already been accepted by WB's standards department. After the F.C.C. decision last week to issue millions of dollars in fines against broadcast stations, the network's chairman, Garth Ancier, contacted Mr. Fontana and asked him to edit a number of specific scenes out of the show, including one that depicted two girls in a bar kissing on a dare and another of a girl unbuttoning her jeans.

"I said no," Mr. Fontana said in an interview Wednesday. "I told him I found the ruling incomprehensible. He said the censor would do the edit."

The decision, several network executives said yesterday, could represent a further step in the spread of alternative means for television programs to reach viewers, including iPods and computers. It could also increase the risk that network television will be seen as pass by some of its audience, especially younger viewers.

"The message here is that they'll be forced to go alternative ways of looking at shows if they want to see the real thing," Mr. Fontana said. "It's like they're telling people that broadcast television now has much less interesting stuff than you see on the Web or cable."

What is at stake is nothing less than the American public's right to watch on network television twentysomething actresses playing curious teenagers unconvincingly pressing together their lips in a fashion that will not reveal any intertwined tongues, thus ruining a broadcast-acceptable take. More importantly, the practice of presenting these "uncut" episodes on the Web threatens to taint the whole internet, that unspoiled bastion of true, unashamed, hot lesbian action. Let's keep Mischa Barton's clumsy, bi-curious experimentations where they belong and stop this madness before it's too late.