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CBS Goes Proactive To Prevent Grammy Skin Mishaps

Grammy 2013 Preview

This Sunday night at the 2013 Grammy Awards, to be broadcast live on CBS, you’re likely to see less of your favorite stars. As in, they will (hopefully) be wearing more clothes.

At least, if they want to be on television.

Apparently, the television network, which has been dogged by an unfortunate history of FCC violations with their live telecasts, wants to make sure things are completely within bounds this time. As New York Daily News has reported, CBS’s Program Practices department sent out a “wardrobe advisory” on Tuesday with very specific—nay, explicit—instructions to attendees about what not to reveal on camera. So specific, in fact, that it is apparent that CBS does not trust these celebrities with the least bit of ambiguity. (As in, if you don’t specifically tell a kid to use soap in the bathtub, don’t expect the kid to come out clean.)

“Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic,” says the memo, originally leaked by deadline.com. “Please avoid exposing fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic.” Really? We have to tell them this? (Apparently so.)

The memo goes even further, warning against sheer or see-through clothing that could cause indecent exposure, and even warning to avoid “puffy” skin exposure around the genital area. Then, shifting from the subject of skin exposure, the memo also advises guests to avoid promoting causes through lapel pins, accessories or wardrobe, including a specific warning in all caps: “OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST.”

A little sensitive, are we?

In CBS’s defense, while the industry has gotten a good laugh out of the memo (which was not intended for the public), the network has good reason to be sensitive, having dealt with a long and unfortunate history of FCC-violations courtesy of celebrities on live television who apparently don’t know how to dress for family friendly audiences—most notably, the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Superbowl XXXVIII). The network may also be particularly sensitive this week since they have found themselves in hot water again for their failure to censor Joe Flacco’s “f-bomb” during last weekend’s Superbowl. Also raising some eyebrows that night (if not violating any specific rules) was Beyoncé’s revealing costume during her halftime show, which combined with her crotch-centric movements, left little to the imagination. So it’s understandable that CBS is eager to avoid both negative publicity and costly fines with their live broadcast of music’s biggest night.

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast on CBS starting at 8:00 PM EST this Sunday, February, 10. It will be a great night of music, as it should be. Just don’t expect too much in the way of peek-a-boo.

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About the Author


David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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