2/29/1996: MPAA Ratings for TV

Television broadcasters agree to rating system similar to the movie industry's.
3:00 | 09/29/14

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Transcript for 2/29/1996: MPAA Ratings for TV
Most powerful executives in the television industry that made it clear to President Clinton they may not see things his way but they will do things his way. By early next year the programs you see on television are going to be rated for sex and violence we started the White House ABC's -- All of them for the nation's broadcasters had clearly come prepared to drop their opposition to a rating system. And the president would just -- prepared to hail that as a breakthrough we're handing the TV remote control back to America's parents. So that they can pass on their values. And protect their children. The industry promised by next January a system to rate all television entertainment programs and to stampede -- electronically -- its rating. So that televisions equipped with the so called V chip still some years away could be sent to blackout shows deemed objectionable. Representing the industry Jack Valenti said the TV ratings would be similar but not identical. For the once the movie industry has had for decades. Rating TV shows he said is a much bigger job. It -- seventy channel cable system just one -- cable system. Would churn out 6111520. Hours a year program hours contrast it with movie ratings. Which only rate 12100 hours a year. Both at the White House and at a later news conference Valenti insisted the industry is acting entirely voluntarily. -- with the White House pushing them some broadcasters clearly felt they had no choice. -- -- -- Voluntarily. Having to -- Voluntary or not the president now has an achievement he can point to on an issue that Republicans. Beginning -- Dan Quayle and his famous critique of Murphy Brown. Once thought belonged to them. Brit Hume ABC news the White House. However this plays out in the political arena things are likely to change in the home but it will not be simple here's ABC's bill Blakemore. Any TV ratings system will now have to come up with a way to distinguish between hundreds of thousands of advertisements. Adult programs. Like this that aired at 8 o'clock on fox last night today. Coming talk shows -- -- even children's programs. Everything that -- must now be rated except news but there are questions about -- If news is not going to be -- Then where does that for one thing lead tabloid. Television news which is often go on right smack in the middle of the dinner hour in which often involves. Some of the sexiest. Stories on television. Some critics fear ratings would give networks license to create even more explicit programming. You can simply say what's anyone complaining about we told you -- is rated. This that aired at 830 on this network last night would no doubt be rated for adults. A lot of older but still that's acts but in many families each kid has a TV set that could be control. Might that mean adult programming could be broadcast early as long as the V chip works. This police drama contains adult language some argue the networks have already begun to offer -- like this warning at the beginning of NYPD blue. The show's creators Steven Bochco says he worries more ratings will make networks more water down content. For me as a creator it. You know of this legislation. And its potential consequences. It's just chilling. So many questions. And broadcasters have a one year to design a system that might work. Bill Blakemore ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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