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‘Nothing Sacred’ not renewed for ABC’s fall ’98 sch


NEW YORK (BP)–Ultimately, there was “Nothing Sacred” about the ratings of the ABC drama about a Catholic priest, thus it has been dropped from the Disney-owned network’s fall schedule, according to news reports May 19.
“Nothing Sacred” was ABC’s much-hyped Thursday night leadoff show last fall.
And much-criticized by Catholic groups — and evangelicals as well.
A campaign by the 350,000-member Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights contended “Nothing Sacred” presented a “highly politicized and patently unfair portrayal of Catholic priests,” in the words of the Catholic organization’s president, William Donohue. The Catholic League campaign prompted more than 35 companies to drop their ads from the show, including Kmart, Red Lobster, Ponderosa, Dairy Queen, Chrysler-Plymouth, Honda, Nissan, Isuzu, Home Depot, Montgomery Ward, Radio Shack and Mutual of Omaha.
In mid-March, despite a warm reception among many newspaper TV critics, “Nothing Sacred” had dropped to the least-watched of all TV shows of the major networks and was pulled by the ABC. At the time, however, ABC issued no formal statement about the show’s future.
The show’s ratings tumble had prompted ABC to move it to Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern and then 9 p.m., during which time the network also pre-empted the show a numerous times.
Donohue said the show failed “because it was — contrary to what all the TV experts said — a lousy show. Only a masochist would love to watch a depressing show about a dissident priest in a dysfunctional parish.”
Donohue, in a statement when the show was pulled from the network, said, “It is no secret that ABC stood by this failed show longer than any other program. Never before has such a loser of a show been given more hype and more preferential treatment than ‘Nothing Sacred.’ Had there not been a political agenda at work, the marketplace would have spelled the fate of ‘Nothing’ long ago.”
Donohue also noted Disney, in addition to pushing “Nothing Sacred,” was responsible, via its Miramax division, for the 1995 film, “Priest,” which film critic Michael Medved had described as arguably the most anti-Catholic film ever made.
The cancellation of “Nothing Sacred” follows an April announcement by ABC ending “Ellen,” a sitcom which broke ground by having a homosexual as its lead character and subsequently suffered a tumble in the ratings.. The finale of “Ellen” was shown May 13.
The program’s homosexual thrust was among the factors cited by Southern Baptists in joining in the call for economic action against The Disney Company during the SBC meeting last June in Dallas for “promoting immoral ideologies.”