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    Controversial ‘Nothing Sacred’ TV series on ABC losing sponsors

    “Nothing Sacred,” a controversial drama about a Catholic priest who doubts the existence of God and is ambivalent on church doctrines ranging from abortion to homosexuality is one of the most hyped television series of the new fall season – and viewers are staying away in droves.

    In its debut week, “Nothing Sacred” was the lowest-rated regular series on the top four networks, falling in 92nd place for the week, according to the Nielsen Ratings, which gave the program a 4.4 rating (a rating point represents 980,000 households, or one percent of the nation’s estimated 98 million TV homes). The ratings failure comes despite widespread critical acclaim and controversy generated by faith-based criticism of the program.

    In addition to keeping viewers away, the program has begun losing advertisers. At least eight companies have abandoned the program, including Weight Watchers International, American Isuzu Motors, Sears, Kmart, Benckiser, Red Lobster, Corian, and Ocean Spray.

    “We got a tremendous amount of feedback from the public about the show and we just decided it wasn’t necessary for us to be on that program,” Weight Watchers spokeswoman Lina Webb Carilli told the New York Times.

    William A. Donohue, head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, hopes other advertisers follow suit. Donohue called the program “pure propaganda for Catholic malcontents.”

    Alan Keyes, a member of the advisory board of the Catholic League, called the program “propaganda dressed up as entertainment, the way the Nazis used to make movies. The entertainment elite’s belief that there are no moral absolutes deeply contradicts the religious view of Christianity.”

    Focus on the Family has joined the Catholic League in calling for a boycott of companies which sponsor “Nothing Sacred.” Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, said the program “breaks new ground for its irreverence and for the way it depicts Christians.” Calling the program “another insulting attack on Christianity,” Dobson said, “If people care enough to use their voice, they can make a difference in the culture. It is time for viewers to insist that sponsors clean up television’s toxic dump.”

    “Nothing Sacred” airs on the third-place ABC television network, owned by the Walt Disney Co., which is being boycotted by a number of religious organizations for its “anti-family” policies.

    ABC also broadcasts “Ellen,” a situation comedy whose title character is a lesbian.

    – E.P. News

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