Wardrobe malfunction, meet TV dysfunction -- here are 12 tips for networks clamping down in the wake of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stunt

By Liane Bonin
Updated February 18, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Twelve ways TV can clean up

Since Janet Jackson gave some 90 million football fans a glimpse of something shocking last month, TV executives have been scrambling to censor their own envelope-pushing programming. MTV has relegated saucy videos from Ludacris, Britney Spears, and Incubus to air after 10 p.m., while NBC’s ”ER” recently cut a scene featuring an elderly woman’s breast. Even ”NYPD Blue,” the originator of the prime-time butt shot, is considering editing a sex scene for ABC affiliates that air the program at the family-friendly hour of 9 p.m.

Why should censors stop there? Here are 12 ideas for the PC police on how to free our TV screens of sex, violence, body-function humor, or anything that could possibly offend anyone.

1. Clothing-optional Survivor Richard Hatch will no longer simply be blurred below the waist. From now on, he will be seen as a digital smudge with eyes.

2. Same goes for Paris Hilton, the entire cast of ”The O.C.,” and, if she doesn’t start buttoning up those uniforms, the hot chick on ”JAG.”

3. From now on, when Jessica Simpson says she’s going to ”drop the kids off at the pool,” she’ll be referring to real, live children and NOT a visit to the bathroom.

4. ”CSI” and ”CSI: Miami” will now conduct autopsies only on tastefully attired corpses and fully clothed body parts.

5. ”The Bachelorette” will replace hot tub dates with more appropriate group activities. Bring on the quilting bee!

6. Simon Cowell will dispense mandatory hugs to all ”American Idol” contestants after crushing their will to live.

7. On ”The Apprentice,” contestants will no longer be fired, but laid off and given a nice severance package.

8. ”Curb Your Enthusiasm”’s Larry David will start taking Zoloft. Or else.

9. ”America’s Funniest Home Videos” will ban footage of pets falling down, babies falling down, or anyone throwing up at a wedding. So each week the show will be roughly four and a half minutes long.

10. Forget all the breast-enhancement surgery, big hair, and sexy outfits on ”Extreme Makeover.” The show will now be called ”Ye Olde Amish Prettifying Course.”

11. Vampires on ”Angel” will be referred to as ”the life-challenged with special dietary needs.”

12. ”The Surreal Life” will replace porn star Ron Jeremy and party girls Trishelle and Traci Bingham with members of the inspirational singing group Up With People. Consider yourself warned, Vanilla Ice.