Brent Batten: Comcast's new lineup puts 'X' by 'G'

BRENT BATTEN
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“Hmmm, let’s scroll through the channels to see what’s on. Disney Channel, MTV, VH-1, Hot Nude Coeds...”

Comcast’s new lineup places its raciest content next to family favorites on the on-screen guide, prompting at least one prominent viewer to object.

“In the netherworld of the upper channels, I stumbled across what’s offered in the channel 500-599 range from the Playboy Channel and other ‘adult’ entertainment providers. If someone wants to buy that stuff on the cable channels, let ‘em buy it, God bless ‘em, and blame it on the First Amendment. Government can’t and shouldn’t stop it. But should we really have, ‘Hot Wet Girls’ displayed on the screen as a pay-per-view option when our children and grandchildren are looking for the current location of The Disney Channel,” asked Collier County Judge Vince Murphy in an e-mail.

Barbara Hagen, vice president and general manager for Comcast in Southwest Florida, said the pay-per-view adult lineup has always been in the 500-599 range of channels and has always been described in the same detail on the guide. But prior to the change at the first of October, it was sandwiched between a group of Spanish-language channels and the channels that offer different genres of music.

Now it is next to more mainstream high definition channels such as MTV and VH-1 which, after the realignment, are found in the 400s.

Titles of programs offered throughout the day and evening range from the titillating, like “Hotties,” and “Porn Star Bowling,” to some so raunchy they’re best not repeated in print for fear of offending the same sensibilities that caused Murphy to complain in the first place. Suffice to say the words “naughty” and “wet” appear regularly.

Hagen said Comcast plans to change its guide so the X-rated offerings don’t butt up against family fare, no pun intended.

“As with any change, we are still making some adjustments. Some customers have pointed out that the channels that follow VH1HD (channel 474) have titles that may be inappropriate for younger viewers. To help alleviate this issue, Comcast is placing ‘spacer’ channels between VH1HD and the next channel on the lineup,” she wrote in a statement.

Hagen said parents have other tools at their disposal. “Comcast strongly encourages all parents to visit www.comcast.com to learn how to set up parental controls. Due to the channel lineup relocations, previous parental controls may have been lost.”

She said the spacers, blank lines between channels, should be in place by Friday.

Murphy said it’s none-to-soon. “I see a lot of bad stuff every day as part of my job, so it must be pretty bad if it gives me pause. Comcast should stand up and do the right thing ... instead of putting those demeaning and disgusting titles on the figurative dinner table for public consumption.”

Connect with Brent Batten at http://www.naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten/

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