The Times Herald
Port Huron, MI
October 19, 2001

Survey: TV viewers want less violence

By Bill Keveney

Gunplay is hardly the best way to attract television and movie audiences, according to a survey by an entertainment industry group.

Viewers rated gun violence last on a list of characteristics that would attract them to a movie or TV show and first among factors that would make them avoid a production, the Entertainment Industries Council said.

"You would think, from just the prevalence of guns on the screen, that the entertainment industry must think they're filling some kind of need. But audiences don't want that kind of bang for their buck - literally," said Barbara Lurie, the council's director of programs and research.

The gun survey results will be presented Oct. 24 at a Los Angeles forum that also will discuss useful contributions Hollywood might make in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We've seen Hollywood's response from a patriotic point of view. What I'm hoping to see happen is an additional consciousness beyond what we've seen so far," EIC President and CEO Brian Dyak said.

Producers and writers might consider how to incorporate such issues as grief and ethnicity into their work, Mr. Dyak suggests.

A number of popular shows, such as The West Wing, The Practice, and Ally McBeal, have or plan to have episodes that deal with topics stemming from the attacks.

The 462 participants in the gun violence survey were split between adults (55%) and teens 13 to 17 (45%).

Teens were a little less turned off by gun violence than their elders.

Young adult males, a top target of movies with violent scenes, could not be broken out separately, because their numbers were too small statistically.

Humor, followed by special effects, adventure and mystery, were top draws for at least three-quarters of viewers, while gun violence appealed only to 19%. Women were more turned off by gun violence than men.