Gossip Girl threesome protest equals free advertising for The CW

I'm beginning to suspect the Parents Television Council is actually a front group controlled by the entertainment industry. The group, which calls itself "the nation's most influential advocacy organization," has trained its rhetorical cannons on The CW Network, which has been promoting an upcoming episode of Gossip Girl featuring a three-way sexual romp between its teenage characters.

"To include a storyline like this on a program that is expressly targeted to impressionable teenagers is reckless and irresponsible," says PTC president Tim Winter. "We are asking each CW Network affiliate to use their common sense and preempt this episode."
So far, no station has picked up Winter's thrown gauntlet and agreed not to air the show. But that doesn't mean his entreaty accomplished nothing: It generated an avalanche of media coverage, ensuring that every teenager in America will now have the episode programmed into his or her DVR. Nice work!

It's not the first time the PTC has taken on Gossip Girl. Last year, the group blasted the series as "mind-blowingly inappropriate." The CW liked that so much, it used the phrase in its ad campaign for the show. In its latest offensive, the PTC cites that campaign as proof that Gossip Girl is targeted at an audience of adolescents, not adults: "Only a teenager would be responsive to a parental 'forbidden fruit' marketing ploy like that, and CW knows it," says Winter.

So if that's the sort of thing teenagers respond to, why play along? Even in the unlikely event the PTC succeeded in pressuring a critical mass of affiliates to preempt the episode, you can be sure the result would be unprecedented online viewership as teens rushed to their laptops to see the episode so hot, they couldn't even show it on TV. Wow!

The PTC has a mission, and it's one a lot of people support. But no one should support going about it in such a dumb way.

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