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It’s common knowledge that network and cable stations frequently bleep certain words that are used on TV programs. While the occasional “ass” or “bitch” can be heard on regular television, words like “fuck,” “asshole” and various slurs are strictly prohibited. A memo from the NBC Universal-owned network Bravo recently leaked explaining the really specific way swear words are cut out when edited. Some of the rules are actually pretty funny.
Asshole – bleep “ass” and keep “hole
An enterprising Redditor posted the memo today, which also notes that the “N” and “C” words must always be bleeped (I guess those are so bad the memo didn’t even want to spell them out/ find them to be obvious bleeps). But what’s amusing about the memo is not the words that are being bleeped, but the specific rules for what letters are acceptable to cut out and what letters can be kept intact while editing any given TV program. Some words are so uncouth that they must be cut in entirety, while with others it’s clear Bravo wants the audience to know what is being said, which is why we can hear “mother” and “ing” to know it’s “motherfucking” that’s being spoken.
The FCC is always on the lookout for obscenities and profanities on television. The organization has its own guidelines for daytime and primetime TV, and when something occurs that doesn’t sit well with the organization, those responsible for the program can be subject to hefty fines (Janet Jackson could tell you more on the subject). The organization doesn't have control over cable, but most advertisers prefer to follow FCC regulations, regardless of what channel they're dealing with. As a result, it’s interesting to see a network contrive such a specific set of guidelines to monitor itself. In this case, it's also probably a necessary memo for a channel that features a lot of off-the-cuff reality programming.
There are some weird jobs in the world of television, and whoever had the job of prepping or updating the above statement fits right in.