NBC Drops Controversial Series “The Book of Daniel”

January 25th, 2006 10:03 AM

The Associated Press reported late last evening that NBC is dropping the controversial series “The Book of Daniel” from its lineup: “Although the network stopped short of saying the low-rated show was canceled, a spokeswoman said Tuesday it has been dropped from the schedule.”

For those unfamiliar, the story line was potentially a bit over the top, even for network television: “The series, which starred Aidan Quinn as an Episcopalian priest with a pill habit who holds regular conversations with Jesus, has a promiscuous son and a daughter who deals marijuana, proved better at drawing criticism than viewers.”

According to the report, this show was largely a failure right from the start: “‘The Book of Daniel" drew an audience of 6.9 million on its first night. By its fourth airing, the number had dipped to 5.8 million viewers.’”

Of course, it didn’t help that the show’s premise offended a goodly number of American citizens, so much so that some of the network’s affiliates refused to subjugate their viewers to its contents: “Conservative Christian groups condemned the depiction of Jesus as blasphemous, accusing the writers of portraying Christ as tolerant of sin in talks with the priest. Seven NBC affiliates refused to air it.”

In the end, citizens ruled the day:

“NBC's move was lauded by the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, which had condemned the show as a sign of what it called the broadcaster's ‘anti-Christian bigotry.’

“The group, along with James Dobson's Focus on the Family, asked supporters to lobby their local NBC affiliates to refuse to carry it. In an article posted on its Web site, the AFA credited viewer complaints for forcing the network's hand.

“‘This shows the average American that he doesn't have to simply sit back and take the trash being offered on TV, but he can get involved and fight back with his pocketbook,’ AFA founder and chairman Donald E. Wildmon said in the posting.”

Of course, NBC had no comment.