The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 June 2005

ABC Removes Politically Loaded Show

Never To Air

ABC Yanks Biased "Welcome" Before Debut


ABC's politically loaded "Welcome To The Neighborhood" has been cancelled before even a single episode could air, according to the Drudge Report and Washington Post.

Set to debut July 10, it's been entirely removed from ABC's site, as if it never existed!

The ill-conceived reality show, previously covered in-depth at the Radio Equalizer, put three white families in a position to select their new neighbor.

Since the candidates were all ethnic minorities, gays, or tattoo fanatics, while the residents were conservative and Christian, the show's political agenda was clear: make the right look like bigots.

From now-removed promotional material at ABC's website:


The Bellamys
Mr. Bellamy is a staunch Republican and would challenge any potential neighbors with politically different views. But the three Bellamy kids would welcome new neighbors who are different. (ABC)

Did the network cave in to pressure from liberals, upset over federal Fair Housing Act violations, conservatives ticked off about stereotypical portrayals of white Republicans as racist bigots, or both?

In Thursday's Washington Post story, the focus is on the leftist battle against the show, with one mention of the conservative Family Research Council's objection to the portrayals of Christians as intolerant.

According to the report, ABC made this statement:

"Welcome to the Neighborhood" demonstrates what happens when people are forced to "confront preconceived notions of what makes a good neighbor," the network said.

"However, the fact that true change only happens over time made the episodic nature of this series challenging, and given the sensitivity of the subject matter in early episodes we have decided not to air the series at this time."


If there's any doubt which side won over ABC, match the above network statement to AP television writer Lynn Elber's additional details of objections from gay and lesbian organization GLAAD:

In the early episodes, one man makes a crack about the number of children piling out of the Hispanic family's car and displays of affection between the gay men provoke disgust.

The series' producers had said it was intended to promote a healthy and open debate about prejudice and people's fear of differences.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, after viewing the series, expressed strong concerns.

While it ultimately carries a valuable message about diversity and acceptance, those watching the first episodes could be left thinking discrimination is "not that big a deal," GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine said Wednesday.

"Regardless of how things turn out at the end of the last show, it's dangerous to let intolerance and bigotry go unchallenged for weeks at a time," he said, adding that GLAAD hopes a revised version might air.

Before ABC announced its decision, the Family Research Council said it was worried evangelicals would be made to appear judgmental and foolish.

Yes, the conservative side of the issue rated just a single line in the Post/AP story.

Yet it wasn't just the FRC showing concern from the right. After Michelle Malkin's Sunday link to the Radio Equalizer story, others jumped on the topic.

On Monday, I spent an hour of airtime while filling in on WPRO/Providence, lambasting ABC's decision to go ahead with the show. Few callers took issue, many instead expressed disgust with the network.

Did conservative groups get a chance to watch review copies of the program, or was that an exclusive GLAAD perk? That might answer my previous question as to why the lefties seemed to be weeks ahead of us.

How about asking the Post to add this: that "Welcome" strongly suggested the average white family is hopelessly bigoted and in need of a reality show cure.

Why shouldn't conservatives, Republicans and Christians resent this program?

Never addressed by ABC: whether network execs ever considered how it would be perceived by viewers, both left and right.

Welcome Michelle Malkin, Orbusmax, California Conservative and Free Republic readers!

Update: BizzyBlog expands on recent network programming bias issues here.

13 Comments:

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger tmcd, at 30 June, 2005 08:42  

  • About that Washington Post article, you write, "the focus is on the leftist battle against the show, with one mention of the conservative Family Research Council's objection to the portrayals of Christians as intolerant."

    However, if you read the article close enough, you can see that they had one liberal group response (GLAAD) and one conservative group response (FRC).

    The focus was hardly on the left's battle with the show.

    By Blogger tmcd, at 30 June, 2005 08:43  

  • This is a storry?!

    Who cares?

    We've had "Playing it Straight",
    "The Littlest Groom", "Chains of
    Love", and this upsets people!?

    BIZARRE

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 June, 2005 10:40  

  • tmcd:

    True, one group on each side, but GLAAD dominated the story, while the FRC rating exactly one sentence, at the end of the story. Not exactly balance.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 30 June, 2005 10:47  

  • I'll bet you ABC sells it to a European media concern and it gets played over there. Any takers?

    By Anonymous DB, at 30 June, 2005 13:02  

  • Why don't they do a show on racial tensions between other-than-whites? That's the real story these days in California's changing real life neighborhoods, as even NPR admits.

    Oh, that's right...doesn't fit the narrative.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4678680

    By Blogger PatCA, at 30 June, 2005 13:23  

  • ABC should stick to Dancing With The Stars. That, at least, is entertaining and could have some beneficial effects to society. (More people taking ballroom dance lessons, for one thing...)

    By Anonymous Erbo, at 30 June, 2005 14:55  

  • I'm curious. Presumably, the show is long in the can, and the contestants were promised some kind of prize. If the series doesn't air, does that mean that they don't get the house?

    By Anonymous Eirik, at 30 June, 2005 15:05  

  • Well, well this just shows that blogs have became part of the media.

    Heck, when I blogged about 2 dead people in King County getting voter registration cards - a King County Republican Councilor's office considered it sufficient "media".

    Frankly, we bloggers are here to stay and play cop!!!

    My awkward way of saying: "Good work, Brian."

    By Anonymous Josef of Josef's Public Journal, at 30 June, 2005 16:29  

  • Gee, instead of blaming/crediting either side for the removal of this idiotic show, why not just say, "It was stupid" and be done with it? There were enough people throughout the political spectrum who felt this was a wrong thing to show -- for a myriad of reasons.

    Frankly, there is nothing based in "reality" on any of these so-called reality shows. Each new proposal for a "reality show" gets worse and worse.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 July, 2005 14:05  

  • I did catch one promo for this show. The people where so steriotypical it was a insult to my bad spelling. I like cheesy shows yet this one took the cake. Gay men crying cause there not wanted, hispanics hugging others as they felt guilty for wanting to be the neighbor, yet sad the other misfits would then would not be. The white family, well lets face it they had a overweight, mean, judgemental, christian Dad?. The promo seamed to long to watch let alone weeks of this sick melodrama. I may be trailer trash, but I have even better things to do than sit inside for a full hour of that crap. I have seen better from my deck while swilling beer on a friday night.

    By Anonymous junebug, at 03 July, 2005 04:42  

  • Gee, Brian...Do you think it could be finally sinking in!?
    You think the leftists running Atheistic Broadcasting Cabal have taken the hint we're tired of looking at propaganda disguised as entertainment?
    No, they just remembered how they lost sponsors and viewers with Ellen coming out of the closet and saw another financial train wreck on the horizon.

    By Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box, at 06 July, 2005 18:52  

  • By about the third time I saw the promo I noticed the "lovable", "sensitive"(my words) gays, and a couple of days later I noticed the freaky "one hundred thousand percent" tatooed Republicans, and of course, the fat, prejudiced, white Christian Republicans. "Reality" shows are really scraping the bottom of the barrel, but this was SO steriotypical it's ridiculous. Sounds like something Howard Dean would come up with!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 July, 2005 16:34  

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