Those guardians of the public morality over at the FCC lost an appeal to fine 45 ABC TV affiliates $1.21 million for airing a 2003 episode of NYPD BLUE where actress Charlotte Ross bared her adorable little bottom for a few fleeting moments during a shower scene. The U.S. Second Court Of Appeals ruled that a few moments of fleeting nudity in a television show doesn’t necessarily constitute an indecent program and that the FCC had over reached their authority here.
This ruling is important because it means that the FCC watchdogs may not be able to levy huge fines against networks for only incidental moments such as nudity, possibly opening TV back up to old days of 2003 when NYPD BLUE sometimes featured some fleeting moments of nudity in their shows. This might give TV show producers a slight bit more artistic freedom.
The court decision might also mean that a program must be taken as whole when considering whether it is indecent or not, much like in the case of obscenity, where the entire work needs to be taken as a whole when considering that legal standard.
Then again, that nudity thing was pretty fine when it was beautiful Charlotte Ross, but not so good when it was Dennis Franz. Now, that was pretty darn indecent right there.