Early Hour for War Series, Salty Language and All





As it begins a 10-month publicity push leading up to the September 2007 broadcast of Ken Burns’s new documentary series on World War II, PBS plans to announce this week that the programs will be shown at 8 p.m., even though a couple of episodes contain obscenities.

Mr. Burns has maintained all along that his seven-part series of “The War” would be shown at 8 p.m., particularly because he wants it to be seen by young people who did not live through the war and its aftermath. But some in public television expressed concern over the summer that even the minimal use of obscenities would cause stations to run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission’s tightened policies against indecency, unless the series was broadcast after 10 p.m., when the F.C.C.’s “safe harbor” period for children ends. Some episodes are likely to include viewer discretion warnings because of grim war images.

In an interview from his New Hampshire office, Mr. Burns said last week that there were three clear-cut uses of obscenity in the series’s 14½ hours, and that those words, which were used in voice-over, have in the past been granted exceptions by the F.C.C. He called their use “so minor and so appropriate to the story.”




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