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Corpus Christi TV Station GM Declines to Air Hitler Mini Series

Aired May 19, 2003 - 20:41   ET


ROBERT CARLYLE, ACTOR: Look around you. Immigrants, Jews, stealing everything we've worked for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The German Jews. Anybody party who comes to power will surly guarantee the...

CARLYLE: We're talking about Jews here! They're not citizens, they have no rights.


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Well the month of May means rating sweeps And the last prime time block busters before that vast wasteland of summer reruns.

But in pulling out all the stops, CBS has sparked controversy with a mini-series called "Hitler: the Rise of Evil." You just watched a short clip right there. Is this appropriate fair for prime time television? Going to talk about it.

From Texas in a moment, Dale Remy is a general manager of a Corpus Christi CBS affiliate, KZTV and also on the radio KVTV. He is refusing to show that program in prime time. We'll talk with Mr. Remy in a moment.

Also in Washington, Victoria Jones, a talk show host with the Talk Radio News Service is with us as well. Before we get to Mr. Remy, good evening to you, Victoria, thanks for your time.


HEMMER: He's the GM. What's wrong with him taking a stand on this?

JONES: Because the people of Corpus Christi might like to have a voice in this. I mean people can figure this out for themselves. Put the thing on, if people want to watch it, they will a watch it. If it's a load of rubbish, they won't. People decided last night it was pretty darn good but they preferred "Law & Order." People of Corpus Christi can make that decision for themselves. This is incredibly paternalistic, these people are not kids.

HEMMER: Did you see it, Victoria?

JONES: I taped it. I chose "Law & Order."

HAMMER: Have you watched it yet?

JONES: No. Because I didn't get the call from you until this after noon. I'm going to home to watch it so that tomorrow night I can watch the second part. Because the more and more I'm hearing about this, it sounds fascinating and extremely well done. And I think we have to try to understand evil, even if we can't. Certainly we need to understand what history is about.

HEMMER: Got it.

To Texas now and Dale Remy. Sir, good evening to you. Thanks for taking time with us.

DALE REMY, GENERAL MANAGER KZTV: Well thank you for having me. I do appreciate the opportunity to discuss it.

One thing I would point out and take exception with Victoria is this isn't a documentary, this isn't even positioned as a historically accurate account. Certainly the dates are the same, the names are the same. But much theatrical license was take within this product...


HEMMER: Did you see this before you made your decision?

REMY: That was not possible. I asked CBS if I could. They originally were going to send me a full-length tape but they weren't able to at the end of it. So I had to make a decision based what I had...

HEMMER: All right, base on the information then, how did you make that decision, based on what?

REMY: Well, she mentioned the people of Corpus Christi. I talked to a lot of community leaders. I initially started this conversation based on viewer input from our Web site, people who are concerned that we would be bringing this character in prime time under the guise of entertainment.

I happen to agree that we need to understand evil to keep it from ever happening again but In an educational context, certainly not in a show business entertainment context when the facts aren't actually there, and they're trying to make -- they're trying to make it fun to watch...


HEMMER: ... Victoria's point though was put it out there and let the people decide. Let the parents do the parenting at home instead of the GM station. Defend that.

REMY: Well, where would you draw the line then? If that's a legitimate point, we should have all kind of pretty rough stuff on. This is over the air broadcast television; this isn't cable.

I'm in the position unfortunately, I guess, to have to make the decision when faced with this. I've been doing this for a long time and this is first time I ever opted not to not air CBS programs...


HEMMER: Not that there's anything wrong with cable, we will point out, though. Correct?

REMY: Oh, goodness, no. I'm a big fan of cable. A lot of our viewers watch us on cable.


HEMMER: Victoria, what about that? Sending the wrong message? Your response is what then?

JONES: Well, what is wrong with entertainment? Why shouldn't it be entertainment? We've had entertainment about Hitler before. Of course, there are going to be a small number facts that aren't accurate. It is entertainment. People can figure that out, too. They know it's a not a documentary.

One of the things I like about this mini-series is that at the end tomorrow night they will document Hitler's crimes. They will document how many millions of people that he killed. So they're taking this very seriously.

And of course, there's a line to draw. We're not going to show unbelievably disgusting bestiality porn on TV. But this is history. This happened. I'm not saying it's a documentary. But what is wrong with entertainment. We've shown other documentary issues as entertainment before. Why not this?

HEMMER: So then, Dale, why not use it as education?

REMY: Well, because I don't think it has educational value because it's not completely accurate. And also, one thing I would point out, as with most historical issues, they're not a current problem in our society.

Nazism is still a huge issue in our nation with kids and other folks. And I just don't think making this individual heinous character from history a relatable and God forbid, likable figure is something that's a good thing we should be doing in prime time. I agree you should let people make a choice and you should put it out there. That's why I offered to put it on in late night. I just didn't think for prime time viewing for families it was a good idea.

JONES: You know the very fact Nazism is still a problem is another reason to put it out there so that people can see how disgusting it is and also that it failed in the second World War.

And the idea people are going to get incredibly influenced by it, look, people claimed they were influenced by "The Matrix" over the weekend, for crying out loud. If people want to join hate groups, they'll go online. Hate is everywhere, they can find it. They're not going to find it through watching this one TV show.

HEMMER: Dale, final comment. And what have you heard from your viewers in your region of Texas.

REMY: I've been on local talk radio. And you can imagine this is a big deal. We gotten about 80 percent of the viewers that have called in or e-mailed in are extremely positive and supportive of the decision. Obviously, there are going to be people who don't agree with me and I certainly accept their opinion and their opportunity to voice it as well.

HEMMER: Part 2 is tomorrow night. I'm assuming you're going to keep the same policy in place? Is that right?

REMY: Absolutely. Although, they can be seen here in town, but not on my station. And I think that's great if people want to watch it. I just happen to think it's my position to make those decisions when it comes to prime time broadcast audience. And,again, would make the same decision knowing what I know now.

HEMMER: Thanks to both of you, Dale Remy in Texas, Victoria Jones in D.C. Good argument. Good debate. Appreciate it tonight.



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