Skip to comments.Internal Viacom Memo on Super Bowl Halftime
Posted on 02/04/2004 1:49:01 PM PST by IonInsights
To: All Viacom Employees
From: Mel Karmazin
Date: February 03, 2004
RE: Super Bowl Half Time Show
As you know, the incident during the Super Bowl's Half Time Show on Sunday has received a significant amount of attention both in the media and in Washington, D.C. Because of the speculation and misinformation about what transpired, I want to update you on the facts and also on what we are doing to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
First let me say that everyone at Viacom, CBS and MTV was shocked and embarrassed about what transpired at the end of our half time performance. Ms. Jackson's unrehearsed, unplanned and unapproved display went far beyond the bounds of what is acceptable under our broadcast standards. We apologized immediately and publicly to our viewers for the incident.
We also conducted an investigation and are satisfied that we handled the creation and staging of the half time show responsibly and that both CBS and MTV reviewed all planned aspects of the performances in detail and in advance. We have established that no one in our company was aware in advance of any plan to rip Ms. Jackson's clothing. Executives from MTV, CBS and the NFL attended all rehearsals and nothing like this was included in the show, which was verified by our review of videotapes from the rehearsals. Moreover, I have been assured that we would never have allowed the incident to take place had we known in advance. Janet Jackson has now publicly admitted that she and her choreographer came up with the idea after the last rehearsal and that no one at MTV or at CBS had any knowledge about her plan.
In order to prevent future incidents, we are immediately taking steps to minimize and hopefully eliminate the vulnerability inherent to live television.
irst, we are redoubling our already thorough oversight of all live performances -- to be sure that the standards of our networks are upheld and that what is presented is appropriate for the intended audience. Second, in addition to our longstanding policy to employ audio delete technology on live entertainment broadcasts, we will begin a video delete capability with the February 8 broadcast of the Grammy Awards on CBS. We believe that this new procedure will allow us to keep unplanned and unscripted-accidental or otherwise-incidents from occurring in the future.
Other aspects and segments of the half time show are being debated and criticized and will no doubt continue to be discussed over the next several weeks. We support the right of people to disagree with the choices we make just as we value and take seriously the public trust that is given to us. And we will continue to do everything we can to assure that our live broadcasts adhere to the same high standards as the programming we air every day.
The rest of the performance didn't bother them? Crotch grabbing, standing lap dancing, almost nekkid girls, suggestive lyrics are all OK?
Americana at play?
Aim for the ground and you will hit it every time.
Actually, I think internalmemos.com gets internal memos that are leaked.
Let's go to the videotape! What was intended? Was there red lace covering her booby in rehearsal? The world wants to know ( at least until Laci Peterson or Kobe or MJ takes over the "news" again)
Another way of looking at this... if it's MTV, it's automatically nasty, vile and disgusting. They know no other way.
I trust the NFL will slap CBS upside the head and next year we'll have a true, family friendly half time show.
And thanks for the mammaries.
I agree. Let's hope the FCC's investigation of the entire show implicates the NFL as well Viacom. Then maybe, maybe, this won't happen again, though I don't know if I'll ever watch another Super Bowl halftime show again.
You said it. The networks and the performers and MTV are all protecting the NFL. Why? - because the NFL has the product and they decide who gets the television rights and the half time freak show. The NFL holds all the cards except one. They want to avoid what happened to baseball. The NFL doesn't want its product to be perceived as an old fogey sport that the previous generation watches. That's why MTV is involved in the half time show. Its MTVs job to deliver the next generation of viewers. So just remember who you are Fathers. You may think you are passing a tradition - football - to your sons and daughters. But, the moneymakers who protect the NFL franchise couldn't care less about you.
But from this quote from the memo:
"Executives from MTV, CBS and the NFL attended all rehearsals..."
it's obvious that the NFL knew in advance of the S&M theme and all of the other sordidness. Someone needs to slap the NFL upside the head!
Well this time they went too far, as these types always do. I bet my bottom dollar that even most of the young viewers in the audience were appalled. Otherwise, why all of the handwringing at Viacom? They're obviously getting negative feedback from even the targeted audience.
They just don't get that times they are a-changing.
Hey Mel.....we all don't have the IQ of a Democrat.
I dunno, maybe I'm too optimistic, but I gotta believe that there is still a large -- and growing -- number of young people who don't watch MTV, and that's more likely the type of kids who were watching the Super Bowl. I wonder how many I-want-my-MTV kids even bothered to watch the game?
Maybe the explanation is that MTV is actually losing viewership and this was a desperate -- and failed -- attempt to attract more numbers. One can only hope.
Interesting, if true. The obviously scripted breast flashing becomes nice cover to change broadcasting. If somebody says or does something the "minders" don't like, it can go down the memory hole before the sheep get to see it...IOW, no more "live" television.
"Ms. Jackson's unrehearsed, unplanned and unapproved display..."
Janet "the slut" had already admitted that she had PLANNED the stunt --- as obviously did her costume designer and nipple decorator..
"We have established that no one in our company was aware in advance of any plan to rip Ms. Jackson's clothing."
I doubt there is any evidence of a "rip"....that "costume" was designed to come apart on cue.
"CBS and MTV reviewed all planned aspects of the performances in detail and in advance........Executives from MTV, CBS and the NFL attended all rehearsals and nothing like this was included in the show,"
They ADMIT approval of the entire degrading, inappropriate and talentless performance - excluding the "flash"!
"..to be sure that the standards of our networks are upheld and that what is presented is appropriate for the intended audience."
Perhaps it would be interesting to learn from these "executives" - exactly WHO IS THE INTENDED AUDIENCE..
That should be interesting!
The writer of this childish CYOA memo - should be fired immediately.
It simply doesn't pass the smell test....It actually makes them look worse - and agitates me even more.
Those who speak for "everyone" are generally full of it.
All employees should be aware that we have covered our butts on this blunder, and that we've strongarmed Janet Jackson -- a second-rate nobody whose career is in mothballs -- into taking the bullet for us. You might have seen our babble-laden press release about how shocked we were and all that blah. That's our official story and we're sticking with it.
To prevent similar embarrassments in the future, the following programs are to be implemented immediately:
First, we are redoubling our already thorough oversight of all live performances -- to be sure that the standards of our networks are upheld and that what is presented is appropriate for the intended audience. Since the standards of our network are nonexistent, and we don't know bupkus about our audience, this is nothing but empty posturing. But it sounds good.
Second, we are insisting that any future productions of soft-core porn we air must be thoroughly screened in advance. Our executives must sleep with the featured performers and give them an official stamp of approval before said performers will be allowed to disrobe or copulate on stage. The only exception will be a song-and-dance number by Rosie O'Donnell.
Thank you for your continued discretion in these matters as we plumb the depths of depravity for more crud to auger into America's living rooms. With your support, we will make enough money to buy a small country and then we can make any kind of movies and shows we want nyah nyah nyah!
Meaning the 24 minutes of soft porn, debauchery, simulated sex, smut lyrics, crotch fondling, and garter belts that preceded Janet's breast?
Gee, what a surprise!
"And thanks for the mammaries."
Translation: You only think you know what you saw. Allow us, Viaspinmastercom, to properly interpret what you think your eyes saw.
Every time some pompous public figure claims he was watching with his children and grandchildren and was stunned by the breast explant I am sickened at the idea that they were still watching what was clearly out of line debauchery. MTV is not allowed in our home regardless of age. We don't subscribe to XXX PPV either.
And then I realize that these pompous jackasses weren't really watching that crap with their family; they were really at the local 'gentlemen's club' getting a lap dance from their hooker honey.
And thanks for the mammaries.
Well, the Super Bowl was rated tripel X.
Joke courtesy of Jay Leno...
Original line deleted after the above: "Well, not really. (I mean we @ Viacom show a lot more porn that what children saw on Showtime every night...it actually takes quite a bit more to shock and titillate us)."
Embarrassed footnote tucked away: "Nobody's ever attempted to previously hold us accountable for what we air...'tis a humbling experience for hundreds of thousands of folks and the FCC to tell us that we are not the gods of the airwaves." Note: CBS' Martin Franks' quote in Tuesday article saying "our air time"--momentarily forgetting, of course, that the air waves belong to the public.
What? MTV folks embarrassed? Why those modest rascals. Here they were shydogs all this while about 'xposin' flesh and I thought otherwise. What say we all write Viacom & MTV a memo apologizin' for jumpin' to conclusions and false assumptions about the emotional make-up of these gatekeepers.
Back-office Viacom discussion that went into this phrase: "Nope. We're just a patsy. In fact, so were the performers. Nobody planned this. It just happened via spontaneous combustion. Yeah, that was it. There was no conspiracy 'tween the J performers. It was...it was...the law of gravity...yeah, an act of God. Seamstress? What seamstress? Choreographer? What choreographer? Why do you need choreography pertaining to a song about a girl gettin' naked?"
It's also a way of letting all employees know what the official story is. They contradict it at their own peril.
Translation: "We may sink low when we think the watchdogs aren't watchin', but even we aren't so stupid to be stuck with the wrath of the NFL and folks-at-large by giving anyone any official go-ahead.
"Can't say we haven't learned how to wink, nod & turn our head 45 to 90 degrees over the years."
Ah, yes. That "trust" thing. Time to veto it. We, John Q. Public, own the airwaves. You, Viacom, have flunked in your stewardship of these...License Renewal: Rejected!
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