Fox Affiliate Dumps ‘Who’s Your Daddy’
Fox Affiliate Dumps ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ (Reuters-Hollywood Reporter)
At least one Fox Broadcasting Co. affiliate has balked at airing Monday night’s 90-minute special “Who’s Your Daddy,” which has raised the ire of adoption advocacy groups for a premise that revolves around an adopted woman trying to pick her biological father from a group of eight candidates. WRAZ-TV (Fox 50) in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., has yanked “Daddy” and instead will air a documentary, “I Have Roots and Branches: Personal Reflections on Adoption,” in the 8-9:30 p.m. EST block slated for “Daddy.” “We are proud to share this enlightening and heartwarming program, both as informative, appropriate family viewing, and as a public service as well,” FOX 50 VP and General Manager Tommy Schenck said on the Web site of the station’s Capitol Broadcasting Co. parent. WRAZ executives could not be reached for additional comment during the New Year’s holiday weekend, but a promo blurb for the telecast of “Roots and Branches” was prominently featured on the station’s Web site (http://www.fox50.com).
Fox and News Corp. executives have been catching flak from adoption advocates and many other critics since it formally announced the scheduling of “Daddy” last month. The show challenges a woman who was adopted as an infant to pick her father from a group of eight men for a $100,000 prize. If the woman picks the right man, she wins the $100,000, but if not the impostor gets the money. Fox has shot a total of six episodes of “Daddy” but so far has scheduled only one airing as a special.
The Fort Worth-based Gladney Center for Adoption decried the show’s premise, calling it “reprehensible” and “offensive.” The New York-based Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute last week called “Daddy” “insensitive and harmful” and demanded an “urgent meeting” with senior Fox executives. Fox reps have stressed that despite the show’s provocative title, all of the people featured in “Daddy” were willing participants and that regardless of the competitive element, all of the women are reunited with their biological fathers as a result of their participation in the show.
In response to WRAZ’s decision to dump “Daddy,” Fox noted that the special had been “thoroughly vetted” by the network’s standards and practices department. “However, any network affiliate that feels the programing may be inappropriate for their individual market has the right to pre-empt the special,” Fox said in a statement.
My guess is that Fox 50 is more interested in generating publicity for this move rather than expressing true revulsion at this exploitative programming.
This is, after all, the network that runs such quality fare as “Cops,” “My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss,” “Nanny 911,” “Renovate My Family,” “The Swan,” “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy,” and “Totally Outrageous Behavior Caught on Tape.”
They have apparently cancelled “Fear Factor,” in which contestents were asked to eat slugs and otherwise degrade themselves. But Much of Fox’s programming has been on the cutting edge of poor taste and exploitation since the network’s inception. It’s difficult to see how this particular show is any worse than, say, “The Swan,” in which contestants undergo plastic surgery and insults about their appearance.*
*Update: Corrected based on comment below.