House Speaker Newt Gingrich is urging broadcasters to revive "family hour" programming, while a new study finds that the first 60 minutes of prime-time is full of vulgarities and sexual innuendos.

Gingrich, in a letter to the heads of the major broadcast networks, suggested a return to general-interest programming between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. MDT - the family hour segment of prime time."This voluntary covenant with the viewing public has disintegrated to the point where the former family hour now features sitcoms and dramas promoting promiscuity and obscene language," wrote Gingrich, R-Ga.

"By creating a safe haven for the family viewing audience . . . the entertainment industry would not only endear itself to parents, but also immeasurably benefit American society," the letter said.

A study by the Media Research Center of one month of prime-time shows during the 7-8 p.m. hour found almost one-third of the programs contained foul language or suggestive sexual remarks or situations.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman cited the study, released Thursday by the conservative media watchdog group, as another argument in favor of his legislation encouraging the TV industry to establish a code of conduct.

"Like most parents, I want nothing more than to be able to sit down at night with my 9-year-old daughter and watch television the way I did with my parents," said Lieberman, D-Conn.

Lieberman is among 100 House and Senate members who have signed a petition urging the networks to bring back the family hour.

Among the study's highlights:

- Fox aired an average of two obscenities per hour between 7 and 8 p.m., more than any other network. Fox also had the most sexual references, 1.06 per hour.

- ABC had both the fewest obscenities and fewest sexual references.

- Only one-third of the shows aired during the period were rated G, for general audiences. More than half were rated PG, for parental guidance.