The Super Bowl may bring CBS super headaches

A winning quarterback's salty language and a prolonged blackout spoil the Tiffany network's big day.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 4, 2013 3:02PM
A general view of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after a sudden power outage that lasted 34 minutes in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII ( Al Bello/Getty Images)Last night's Super Bowl was one of the most exciting NFL championships in years. But executives at CBS (CBS), which broadcast the big game, may not feel much like celebrating.

The Parents Television Council, a conservative media watchdog group, has called on the Federal Communications Commission to take action against the network for airing Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's unedited moment of profanity shortly after his team's triumphant victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

The FCC doesn't take action on indecent material aired between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time since children are less likely to have seen it. Flacco's expletive, however, was heard before that window began in some parts of the country.

"The incident was after 10 p.m. on the East Coast, so there is no possible liability for the Eastern time zone," telecom attorney Andy Schwartzman tells MSN Money. "As to the other time zones, the situation is very unclear. . . so I doubt the FCC would try to press the issue."

CBS declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the FCC. The parents' council argues that CBS could have easily avoided the problem.

"It should come as no surprise that celebrating football players would use profane language," said the PTC's Dan Isett in an interview. That raises the question of why CBS didn't use a tape delay as it did in earlier parts of its broadcast, he added.

The networks have promised for years to take steps to prevent incidents such as Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" from happening again, but have failed to do so, he said.

CBS's other headache was the 35-minute stoppage in play Sunday caused by a power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans. The network basically stopped running commercials during that time. It did honor its commitment to advertisers, who shelled out an average of $3.8 million for a 30-second spot.

As Ad Age noted, some advertisers used the blackout to their advantage. Also, the audience stuck around because the game got a lot more interesting as the 49ers nearly staged an epic comeback. Preliminary Nielsen data released last night by CBS showed the game set a ratings record, according to the Washington Post.

--Jonathan Berr has a small position in CBS. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Feb 4, 2013 4:36PM
worst half time show ever..more like be-yuke
Feb 4, 2013 4:56PM
Turned off half-time show after a few minuts. Thought it was dumb.
Feb 4, 2013 3:33PM

So much over-ado about not so much. In the time it takes you to read this, some little kid somewhere in the world has died from needless starvation.


There's something worth your time and attention. "F'n awesome" is beneath all but the lame brain.

Feb 4, 2013 4:38PM
Anyone offended by this has no business watching live sports.  All they are doing is waiting for that "gotcha" moment to be offended.  That is more offensive than the content if you asked me.
Feb 4, 2013 4:58PM

oh was barely audioable....

these groups need to get a life if all they are worried about is ****!!!!!!!

where is the outrage over the go daddy at aired within the first commercial break of the game (if i'm not mistaken it was the VERY first commercial...)

that was the most disgusting part of the night....


Feb 4, 2013 4:51PM
Great...another group trying to make a quick buck...

Get a life...people's a part of life...try being a decent parent and put it into perspective rather than shunning real life for the rest of everyone from it.
Feb 4, 2013 5:32PM
Hell-------- Biden dropped the F bomb talking to Obama on air, Since he is an idiot he got a pass on that.
Feb 4, 2013 4:41PM
When are these PTC bozos going to realize that nobody gives a flying F what they think? There are way to many things in this world that are more concerning than someone getting caught mouthing the F bomb during a live broadcast. Time to blow off these pompous, arrogant morality thumpers permanently. They have gotten way too attention.
Feb 4, 2013 5:42PM
I was happy for Joe Flacco and his entire team.  It's true, if you're afraid of a "bad word" coming from a football team....then relax!   I was FAR MORE offended by the Go Daddy commercial aired right in the middle of the game/family hour, than Joe's innocent elation !    Congratulations to both teams for holding up against all power-outage odds.    I won all my bets for Baltimore.....and that was ( awesome !!!!
Feb 4, 2013 7:03PM
but they weren't offended that their child watched Beyonce roll around on the floor like a pig in heat?  Somehow, I think their values are screwup up.
Feb 4, 2013 5:55PM

When I was growing up, I heard the f-bomb dropped by my parents for more often than I did on TV.

I think it only took me USING the f-bomb once to learn that there's a time and a place for it, and the dinner table is not that place.

Feb 4, 2013 5:23PM
Get over it your kids hear worst things in school and shopping in the supermaket. No one has ever been scared because they heard a cuss word.
Feb 4, 2013 5:33PM
I thought the FCC had already cleared up the "excited utterance" exception?
Feb 4, 2013 5:32PM
all this over nothing but a waste of time and money! but hey, that's what this country is all about!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb 4, 2013 5:32PM

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's suffers from to many hits to the brain cell.  His mouth runneth his brain cell dead.  However, CBS was totally crappy in their coverage, especially the audio throughout the entire broadcast. 


I vote 10 thumbs up for the Audi, Budweiser and especially the farmers commercials.  Great lesson in all of them; know what you want, be willing to pay the price and be true to yourself and your family.. never compromise.

Feb 4, 2013 8:43PM
The half time show was a embarresment to our nation as a whole where is the decency for family entertainment during of all things a superbowl.  As stated elsewhere only thing missing was a pole.
Feb 4, 2013 6:51PM
Really, another reason why I thank God we do not live forever. When will the stupidy end? About 5 seconds after I take my last breath.
Feb 4, 2013 7:55PM
The PTC can blow it out their lower, rear orifices.
Feb 4, 2013 8:41PM
We've got Charter Cable.  Had it for 15 years.  Always paid-up and NEVER late!  How did they reward me?  By putting a big black box on my screen so I could not watch the game.  Thanks Charter!
Feb 4, 2013 5:36PM
wonder if the Super Dome not being fit to live in is one of the problems. Seems to be a BIG BITCH with some of dim hoes what had someplace to go when dey lost dire box under the bridge when da big 'cane blowed in
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