General News

Networks deal with terrorist plot lines

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Sep 24, 2001 | 10:58am EDT

NBC has decided to push back the season premiere of its hit show The West Wing to Oct. 10, Variety reports.

But while other networks are attempting to eliminate any references to the threat of terrorism, producers for The West Wing are quickly trying to piece together an episode which deals with just that.

"Isaac and Ishmael," which is set to air on Oct. 3, will focus on how President Bartlett and his administration deal in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The special episode will begin with the actors addressing the audience.

John Wells, the show's executive producer, said they didn't feel comfortable going back to the fictional White House without taking a moment.

"Hopefully, we can say something that's useful and not in any way appear like we're trying to exploit the tragic events that occurred," he told Variety.

The network, however, is shelving an episode of its new series U.C.: Undercover because of terrorist-themed material.

Other networks are also going through their shows with a fine-toothed comb, canceling, postponing or rewriting potentially inappropriate content.

CBS is shelving the first episode of its CIA drama The Agency because of a plot line that involves a possible anthrax attack on Washington, D.C. The show will still premiere on Thursday but will instead air an episode about a plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

CBS also changed a line from The Ellen Show, which is set to premiere Monday night. The network will remove a bit in which Ellen's character, griping about losing her job in the dot.com collapse, says, "I hope you didn't get caught in the building."

FOX is editing out a scene from its new fall drama 24, which depicts a terrorist bomb causing a plane to explode in midair.

The Believers, which is based on a true story about an anti-Semitic skinhead, was set to debut on Showtime this fall but has also been pushed back indefinitely. Showtime has also postponed Rules of Engagement, Deterrence, Hiroshima and On the Beach.

New shows are not the only ones being affected. Fox Television has pulled a 1997 episode of The Simpsons entitled "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" out of syndication. In the show, Barney steals Homer's car and leaves it illegally parked between the Twin Towers, forcing Homer and his family to go to the Big Apple to retrieve it.

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