The four major television networks have chosen the University of California at Los Angeles to study violence in their programs.
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC agreed this week to fund the study under pressure from members of Congress who say too much violence on television is one of the causes of increased crime and violence in American society.The study by UCLA's Center for Communication Policy will focus on the extent and nature of violence in prime time and children's programs and its context and relevance to plot. It will also seek to examine the consequences of violence.
The two-year study will begin this fall. A similar study of cable TV programs is being done by the MediaScope company.
"I think what everyone is concerned about is violence which is excessive," said Jeffrey Cole, the center's director.
Senator Paul Simon, the leading congressional critic of TV violence, said he welcomed the networks' action.
"Jeffrey Cole and the center have superb credentials for this work. This is a good team and a good choice," the Illinois Democrat said at a news conference with Cole and CBS Vice President Martin Franks, representing the networks.
Franks said network programming had become much less violent over the past two years and the trend would continue with this fall's new programs.