The Ed Sullivan Show, 1956
After Elvis’ gyrating hips cause a stir on Milton Berle’s and Steve Allen’s shows, Sullivan shows the rocker mostly from the waist up.
Maude (Bea Arthur) gets an abortion. The resulting outrage prompts advertisers to defect; 25 CBS affiliates refuse to rerun the ep.
Married…With Children, 1989
A Michigan housewife leads a boycott after an episode full of bra shopping and gay references; ratings actually go up.
NYPD Blue, 2003
Charlotte Ross’ bare backside earns the ABC drama $1.4 million in FCC fines. (Dennis Franz’s tush? Apparently not worth fining.)
Family Guy, 2009
The March 8 episode discovers a surefire formula for a Parents Television Council complaint to the FCC: orgies + bestiality + equine bodily functions.