Here's something counterintuitive: the Parents Television Council has declared that reality TV is safer for your kids than scripted shows. The group, best known for facilitating FCC complaints, examined the top 20 TV shows watched by kids ages 2-17, and ranked them according to their "suitablity" for kids. If you count "Sunday Night Football" as reality -- which, I guess, depends on what you think of NFL referees -- then all of the PTC's seal-of-approval shows are unscripted. They include "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Deal or No Deal" (where the scantily-clad models holding briefcases are apparently not a problem) and "Dancing With the Stars" (though last season, some of Lisa Rinna's choreography might have prompted a few conversations about the birds and the bees).
"Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Greys Anatomy," and "CSI" turn up on the PTC's "worst" list. Also, as proof that irony is officially dead, the PTC warns parents to look out for "innocent-sounding television shows" such as "American Dad" and "Family Guy."
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.