When the prime-time comedy $#*! My Dad Says hits CBS this fall, most viewers and advertisers won't give a $#*! about the title—a sign of just how far attitudes about TV swearing have come since the days when Lucy Ricardo had to say she was "expecting" rather than "pregnant" on I Love Lucy. The network will probably bleep out or leave silent the FCC-forbidden title expletive, but it's not worried about offending anyone.
The battle over TV profanity is over, and however much critics bemoan the coarsening of our culture or the influence of raunchier cable shows, the ruder language turning up on network programs is really about shifting viewer demographics, Advertising Age reports. "As broadcast TV audiences erode, the networks no longer have to churn out bland fare that appeals to everyone and his or her dentist," the industry mag notes. The more people lie outside a show's narrowly defined target audience, the more people it's OK to offend.