WASHINGTON -- The nation's chief media regulator expressed
disappointment Wednesday over the steamy locker room opening to
ABC's Monday Night Football broadcast.
"I wonder if Walt Disney would be proud," said Michael Powell,
chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ABC is owned by
The Walt Disney Co.
The opening, which has generated complaints to ABC and the FCC,
featured actress Nicollette Sheridan of the hit show "Desperate
Housewives" in the locker room, wearing only a towel and
provocatively asking Philadelphia Eagles star Terrell Owens to skip the game for her. She drops the towel and jumps into Owens' arms. Sheridan was shown only from behind and above the waist after dropping the towel.
Powell questioned the judgment of those who decided to air the scene.
"It would seem to me that while we get a lot of broadcasting
companies complaining about indecency enforcement, they seem to be
continuing to be willing to keep the issue at the forefront, keep
it hot and steamy in order to get financial gains and the free
advertising it provides," Powell said during an interview on CNBC.
An FCC spokeswoman said the agency has received a number of
complaints about the broadcast, though she declined to say how
The complaints will be reviewed, and the commission will decide
whether or not to open an investigation that could result in a fine
against the network. The maximum indecency fine is $32,500 per
ABC quickly apologized for the locker room intro. And the NFL
called it "inappropriate and unsuitable for our Monday Night Football audience."
ABC has broadcast Monday Night Football with a 5-second
delay this season, a precaution after singer Janet Jackson's
"wardrobe malfunction" at February's Super Bowl halftime show --
when singer Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson's outfit,
exposing her right breast to a TV audience of some 90 million
CBS is protesting a proposed FCC fine of $550,000 for the