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Pro-family groups target ‘Book of Daniel’ advertisers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Assured that NBC has heard the voices of thousands of Americans who were offended by the network’s controversial new drama “The Book of Daniel,” the conservative watchdog group American Family Association is setting its sights on the advertisers who endorsed the programming.

“Right now we’re pleased that NBC has gotten what it deserves, and that is a basement rating in the Nielsen ratings for this program — a 2.7 rating, which is very low. It shows NBC it’s a failure,” Randy Sharp, director of special projects for AFA, told Baptist Press Jan. 9.

“I think it was doomed to fail from the start. Advertisers for the most part — the most nationally recognized advertisers — avoided it like the plague because it is a plague. This program is equivalent to leprosy to the Christian community,” he said.

Sharp noted four that major national advertisers aired commercials during the two-hour debut of the show Jan. 6: Combe Inc., makers of Just For Men hair color; Mazda; H&R Block; and Burlington Coat Factory.

“Historically, H&R Block and Burlington Coat Factory are what we call ‘buzzard buyers,’” Sharp said. “They buy the bargain basement shows.”

Another major advertiser told AFA that although they advertised during the premiere of The Book of Daniel, they will not give money to the show in the future.

“They told us that as late as last Thursday NBC was still trying to scrounge up buyers for the show at deep, discounted prices and they were not familiar with the content so they bought the bargain and it has come back to bite them,” Sharp said of the advertiser, preferring to withhold the name because of its intention to withdraw its support of the show. “NBC basically used them.”

The next step for AFA, Sharp said, is to enlist the help of its 3 million supporters in persuading the four major advertisers who helped put The Book of Daniel on the air to stop funding the controversial program.

And now that back-to-back episodes of the show have aired, Sharp said AFA is receiving feedback from supporters who say it’s even worse than AFA warned. Sharp said he tuned in for about 30 seconds Friday night but was forced to turn it off because the part he caught included the main character, a priest, using God’s name to curse another character.

“I didn’t want to stomach it,” Sharp said. “… It’s very disappointing.”

Meanwhile, Skeet Workman, an executive board member of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, circulated an e-mail Jan. 7 saying, “Don and Tim Wildmon of American Family [Association] got it right!” Don Wildmon is founder and chairman of AFA, and Tim Wildmon is president.

“Everything they told us would be on this show was there!” she wrote.

Workman said she monitored The Book of Daniel and took note of the content and the advertisers. The show carried “lots of profanity including a daughter who used Jesus’ name in vain” and it “promoted the homosexual lifestyle constantly.”

“It showed Christians and especially the Episcopal priest and bishops as weak and sinful,” Workman, of Lubbock, Texas, reported. “Jesus was weakest and seemed to lack power and divine authority. He seemed to have no anger against sin…. [I]n my opinion it was a depraved show that did not fit this community[’s] standards at all!”

Among the advertisers Workman took note of, in addition to those four mentioned by Sharp, were Walt Disney World, the Olympics and Ashley Furniture.

The Book of Daniel focuses on a drug-addicted Episcopal priest who has a wife who downs mid-day martinis, a 23-year-old son who is a homosexual Republican, a 16-year-old daughter who sells marijuana and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sexual relations with the bishop’s daughter.

The show, produced by a homosexual ex-Catholic, also includes a figure called “Jesus,” who wears a white robe and beard and casually converses with the main character.

After much criticism from potential viewers, at least four NBC affiliates used their Federal Communications Commission-given right to not air the series. KARK in Little Rock, Ark., WTWO in Terre Haute, Ind., KBTV in Beaumont, Texas, and WGBC in Meridian, Miss., refused to run it, according to the Associated Press.

The Book of Daniel averaged 9 million viewers during its two-hour debut, coming in behind CBS’ dramas “Close to Home” and “Numbers” and ABC’s new “In Justice” and “20/20,” according to Reuters.

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  • Erin Curry Roach