‘Passion’ still seeking broadcast deal, networks not biting

.- As of yet, Mel Gibson's Icon Productions has been unable to sign a contract with a broadcast network for its blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ." The film earned $360.9 million in the U.S. alone since its Feb. 25 release.

Icon has already approached ABC, CBS and NBC. ABC has already turned down the film, and executives from the other major broadcasters, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that it was doubtful they would sign a broadcast contract.

Showtime declined, and HBO said it already has a full line-up for the next year, reported AP April 20. The Starz pay cable network hasn't made a decision, and neither has Fox, which is awaiting the evaluation of its broadcast standards department, reported AP.

Some television analysts speculate that the movie's graphic scenes of Jesus Christ's crucifixion may be too violent for broadcasters. As well, some broadcasters may not want to inherit the controversy that surrounded the film during its release.

But the founder of the Parents Television Council, a media watchdog group that wants TV networks to stop airing graphic violence, told AP that if networks turn down "The Passion" because of violence, it would be hypocritical.

"There doesn't seem to be a problem with other violent content," Brent Bozell told AP. He said the movie "may be violent, but it is also one of the most beautiful, powerful and instructive movies ever made.” He said the council would not endorse nor oppose a broadcast of the film.


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