'Family-friendly' TV milestones

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NBC dramas "Chuck" and "The Bionic Woman" and the CW drama "Life Is Wild" are the upcoming primetime series that have earned the seal of approval from the Family Friendly Programming Forum, which is marking two milestones in the fall.

The 2007-08 season will mark the first time ever that the FFPF -- a coalition of blue-chip advertisers that helps fund the development of family-oriented programming for the broadcast networks -- has secured at least one family-friendly programming option in primetime each night of the week (with the exclusion of the low-rated Saturday night, where the networks generally tend to air newsmagazines and repeats).

In addition, the upcoming season will feature more shows funded through the FFPF's Script Development Fund than in any season since the coalition was founded in 1998. The eight FFPF-supported series that will be on the broadcast networks' schedules next season is three more than the previous high of five. They include five returning shows: ABC's "Ugly Betty," "Brothers & Sisters" and "Notes From the Underbelly"; NBC's "Friday Night Lights"; and CW's "Everybody Hates Chris."

"We're pretty proud (of having a show on Sunday-Friday nights)," said Pat Gentile, national TV programming manager at the Procter & Gamble Co., which is part of the FFPF. "One of the key elements we tried as an organization was to provide optional programming to families every day of the week, with the best-case scenario within (primetime). They key is, if you have the whole family watching quality television during that time, from both an advertising perspective and network perspective, you have the whole element there."

The FFPF's mission is to support and promote the development and scheduling of family-friendly movies, dramas, comedies and informational programs that are aired during key primetime hours when adults and children in a household are most likely to watch television together (8-10 p.m.) The organization defines family-friendly programming as those shows that are appropriate in theme, content and language for adults and children and also have has cross-generational appeal, depict real life and resolve issues responsibly.

Through its fund, the organization provides seed money to the networks for family-friendly scripts. If a script becomes a series, the network reimburses the fund, and the money is redeployed to seed more scripts. A total of 45 scripts were reviewed by the script development committee for the 2007-08 season.

"Life Is Wild" is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Sundays, "Chuck" is set for 9 p.m. Tuesdays, and "Bionic Woman" will air at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.
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