Mormon-Owned Station Won’t Air ‘The New Normal’


KSL-TV is a Salt Lake City-based NBC affiliate, owned and operated by a company called Bonneville International. Bonneville, in turn, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Which is why KSL-TV won't air NBC's new series The New Normal, about two gay dads, their surrogate, and their kid.

From the Salt Lake City Tribune:

"From time to time we may struggle with content that crosses the line in one area or another," said Jeff Simpson, CEO of KSL’s parent company, Bonneville International. "The dialogue might be excessively rude and crude. The scenes may be too explicit or the characterizations might seem offensive … For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time."

Simpson, of course, doesn't explain why the show's inappropriate. Is he worried it'll be pornographic? That it'll depict religious people in a negative light? Or that it will depict gay people as people?

A competing station in Salt Lake City — channel 30, KUCW-TV — has announced plans to air The New Normal on weekends. In the non-Salt Lake City market, The New Normal premiers Tuesday night.


  1. kp05 says

    Perfection! This truly IS ‘The New Normal:’

    Gay couples on prime time TV alongside straight couples, entertaining a wide demographic, with the loudest voices of protest from religious zealots who are increasingly becoming the out-of-touch fringe.

  2. Mary says

    Couldn’t this end up as another Chick-Fil-A fiasco for the gay community? Best to let this station make whatever decision it feels is best. The station is not government-owned. Anyone who wants to see this show can buy it on DVD or through someone in another section of the country who would record it for them. And why make a fuss over a show that might not even last due to poor ratings? This is like right-wing groups objecting to Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the stars.” Some fights are best to pass on.

  3. nick says

    Mary is correct; this is a fight that cannot be won.
    Utah is a solely owned subsidiary of the Mormon Church. The American government won’t honestly invite a rational discussion of any form of Christianity that is found in this country-no matter how fringe. We ignore the intolerant theocratic turn this country is taking -at our own peril. The attack on rational thought, science, women, minorities and other disenfranchised peoples is chilling and not a good omen for our children.

  4. Sean in Dallas says

    I grew up in SLC; All in the Family, the Jeffersons, Maud, Mary Tyler Moore, Alice, Three’s Company, Charlie’s Angels, Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting, LA Law, The Simpsons, Married With Children, Baywatch, Will & Grace, and countless other programs that pushed Mormon buttons aired there. And did well.

  5. John B. says

    There are plenty of TV shows I don’t like or find offensive. Simplest solution: don’t watch them. But they apparently don’t think their viewers are capable of making that choice, so they’re making it for them.

  6. Mike says

    Give me Freedom to Love or give me Death. That is the real fight we LGBT people are in and it is the Mormons, Catholics and Evangelical Christians who are spending millions of dollars and countless hours fighting LGBT people to keep them from having the same rights guaranteed them in the United States Constitution, the right to get married and have good jobs and live a good life. These Mormons are trying to stop gays from being gay and they never have stopped them and they will never succeed in stopping them because they are wrong in what they are doing to try and stop them.

  7. Rev. Verdon Coleman says

    And for all of the people in Utah who DO want to watch it, they will either watch it online or wait until Saturday.

    There is a way that you can fight against this company if you don’t like their policies – don’t support them. If there is a Bonneville station in your media market, don’t support them, or business that advertise on them. That IS how the free market works, right?

  8. Jed says

    it’s a free market and they’re a commercial enterprise. they have the right to determine their own content just as, for example, logo tv has the right to not air the 700 club. it’s par for the course.

  9. Tommy Girl says

    They might not be pissed at all the gays so much as at the particularly fabulous Andrew “Elder Price” Rannells. I’ve heard lotsa Mormons actually enjoy Broadway’s Book of Mormon–But maybe not the biggest wig at KSL-TV.

  10. Joey says

    They not a free enterprise operating like a cable station. If they broadcast over the air then they are using government power to control that spectrum of the dial. Of course, like the Republicans they support, who are holding their convention in a government built convention center, they claim they built it. I wonder how many violent shows they censor. Such values.

  11. slippy says

    Well folks,this is a preview of what a Bishop Romney Presidency would look like. These people do think they “know best” . Censorship of a major prime time network sit -com that might “tease” or heaven forbid show gays starting a family –on my . Just wait till The Good Bishop and The Elders start with their campaign against porn -a Romney Presidency would be the Taliban in Magic Underwear ….

  12. Robert says

    “they have the right to determine their own content just as, for example, logo tv has the right to not air the 700 club. it’s par for the course.”

    Uh, no. An NBC affiliate deciding not to air one specific NBC-created show is not “par for the course.” It’s them going out of their way to single out a show, giving Utah viewers no or limited access to its own programming. That’s ridiculous.

    FWIW, unfortunately the show looks terrible and I doubt it will last more than one season.

  13. Xzavier says

    “Well there you go folks religion has finally told Americans what they can and can not watch in the state of UTAH be careful they’ll be coming for you next….its their AGENDA!!!! Romney’s heading there now.”

  14. brian says

    This is a total outrage. How dare a local business be allowed to have the freedom to decide what goods and services they want to provide. Outside agendas should force everyone to believe as they believe!

  15. WHAT? says

    As an NBC affiliate, did they air Will & Grace when it was on? Why now? Is it because this show is about a loving gay couple trying to start a family? God forbid! Was W&G OK because it was just a bunch of caricatures and a drunk cracking silly jokes (not a slam at W&G, it’s still one of my favorite shows) so they are harmless? This series may show that we are “normal” and that threatens them?

  16. jamal49 says

    Censorship. Pure and simple. Revoke their broadcast license.

    Of course, those mormon @$$holes forget about the Internet, where I’m sure those who wish to view this interesting, new program will be able to see it.

    Anyone want to get a petition together to have the FCC revoke their license? I’m down with it.

  17. WHAT? says

    @BRIAN: as an NBC affiliate they signed up and agreed to carry NBC shows. There are many shows on that schedule that has/had content that “may cross the line”. For example Saturday Night Live, some storylines on Law & Order, Days of Our Lives, etc. If they are truly worried that their local audience is so sensitive and can’t handle it they have another option: when their affiliation agreement expires, become an independent station and they can set their own schedule 24 hours a day and play only purely good shows! But you know they won’t do that because it would cost them money and also they make a lot of money off the network shows. Seems a bit hypocritical.

  18. WHAT? says

    Alcohol is prohibited my Mormon code. KSL airs the fourth hour of the Today Show, aka, the booze hour. Kathie Lee and Hoda promote drinking and drink on-air every day. Why have they not dumped this show? Enough said. Hypocrites.

  19. JAMES in Toronto says

    That the show “looks terrible” is totally subjective, IMO.

    I, on the other hand, have been anxious to see it for months. Having watched the trailers, good actors dealing with interesting subject matter.

    I want to see how they handle it.

  20. Homo Genius says

    Just weighing in… no, TV stations arent like other businesses. They have LICENSES which have to be renewed. People can file complaints or challange these. I am not suggesting people do that, just pointing out that Broadcasters operate under different rules than other businesses. They are “leasing” public airwaves….

  21. WHAT? says

    Further to my last post: did they not carry Cheers during its run? A show about a spending day after day drinking in a bar and not really amounting to much?

  22. Stefan says

    For everyone bringing up the issue of free speech and other constitutional rights, here’s a quick primer. As an affiliate, this station is not owned-and-operated by NBC and, therefore, does not have a contractual obligation to air all of NBC’s programming. The only freedom of speech implicated in broadcasting is the right of the broadcast licensee to be free from arbitrary regulation of content by the FCC. The Constitution does not guarantee the right to watch a certain television show, nor does it require that a licensee exercise fairness or lack of prejudice in what it decides to air or not. There is no “equal protection of viewpoint” with regard to what a tv affiliate airs. Hopefully we don’t expend too much energy fighting a losing battle. Save it for election efforts.

  23. JED says

    @stefan thank you. i completely agree. the station is exercising their programming prerogative. again, it is par for the course in a free market. we may not like it and can certainly voice our displeasure if we want, but no laws or constitutional protections are being violated in this particular case. better to choose our battles wisely.

  24. Chris says

    To be fair, and before everyone goes off the deep end. This station has a history of this, and currently does not carry SNL and several other shows due to content. So they are not limiting themselves to just refusing gay shows….and in all honesty, they have as much right to not broadcast gay content as logo has to broadcast gay content. Public accommodations are one thing, and refusal to serve a specific class of people is discriminatory, but, forcing a business to distribute something it doesn’t want to broadcast is taking this too far. If you can force KSL to broadcast a specific show, then NOM can force New York stations to broadcast David Barton documentaries.

  25. Oz in OK says

    The only thing I know for sure about this story is this – *I* am going to use my Freedom of Speech to protest this action.

    *I* am not going to wait for some nebulous ‘better fight’ because that’s just code for ‘well let’s just constantly move the goalposts until we aren’t protesting ANYTHING anti-Gay because… remember Chic-Fil-A!’

    Having we already seen so many examples of the Teapublicans ‘sneaking’ their ideology into their platforms when no one said anything about it, and only now are we having to deal with the insanity?

    Prop H8 happened because too many of us weren’t paying attention, or saying ‘well there are other battles to fight.’ The midterm sweeps happened because too many of us weren’t paying attention, or saying ‘well there are other battles to fight.’

    No more.

  26. Rawn says

    He seems confused. The brand he’s representing is NBC (no one has any idea nor care who Bonneville is) and it’s not his place to make the call about what’s appropriate for that brand.

    Bonneville’s contract may allow them not to broadcast the network’s entire lineup, but smearing the NBC brand is probably grounds to lose their affiliation.

  27. Prof Sancho Panza says

    Some of you who are old enough will remember that back in 1993, *57* of ABC’s 225 affiliates refused to air the first episode due to concerns about nudity and subject matter. As the show became a top 20 hit that advertisers wanted to buy time on, that number dropped rapidly. If only one NBC affiliate holds out on “The New Normal”, that’s nothing by comparison.

    It’s also possible that local advertisers in Salt Lake City would not want to buy time on “The New Normal”, which is a valid business consideration for the station.

  28. Craig says

    I have never seen so many people so protective of their wickedness. Certainly a sign of the times. they scorn those people or organizations that actually display good judgement and morality.

  29. Stefan says

    @Craig: Funny that you would just *happen* on a gay news site and stick around long enough to get to the comments, read them, and post. I hope the ads in the sidebar weren’t too damaging (*cough* appealing).

    @Oz in OK: Civil rights for minority groups are won via SCOTUS or changes in state laws. A very real possibility exists that SCOTUS, (particularly if Romney were to win and, say, Ginsberg’s seat were to become vacant) will not rule favorably with regard to marriage equality. So that pushes the issue to the states. Effective protest requires time and money, and real change requires winning the hearts and minds of those in the majority. I ask you: do you really think that protesting a perfectly constitutional and legal act in a state that will likely never support gay marriage is worthwhile? Do you think that it’s going to win anybody nationally to our cause? Or do you think, like the Chick-fil-A protest, it will only entrench and mobilize those against us and potentially alienate those who might have been for us? I remember protesting stuff all the time in high school and college, but then I became an adult and began to see what worked and what did not.

  30. WHAT? says

    @CRAIG: you want to talk about scorn and wickedness? How rich! The religious fundamentalists have made that an art form and judging others has been their trademark for years. Give it up.

  31. Sean says

    Ok, I actually live in Salt Lake City. This isn’t the first show that KSL has put to the way side. For YEARS they haven’t shown “Saturday Night Live,” and last year they didn’t show “The Playboy Club.” But somehow, “Law and Order: SVU” and previously “Will and Grace” were ok. I’m over it!!!! Personally, I feel my time is better spent encouraging channels like CW 30 that will air those shows dissed by KSL than boycotting KSL itself. Honestly, I’m kind of wondering when they will stop airing “Days of Our Lives,” when one of the “gay-themed” storylines get a little uncomfortable for them. Just sayin…

  32. WHAT? says

    @SEAN: and don’t forget the daily “wine tasting hour” on the Hoda/Kathie Lee Today Show. Alcohol is forbidden by Mormon code, yet they air a show where the hosts drink it up! When are they going to drop that show?

  33. Phaerisee says

    A lot of us come from christian and conservative or catholic families. I can tell you this for certain: If half of these people knew what Mormons *really* believe, Barack would already have this election in the bag. Spread the word to your families.

  34. GregV says

    Is the last line in the article a mistake? The phrase “premieres Tuesday night” sounds like it’s this Tuesday.
    My understanding is thst The New Normal starts on Tuesday, Sept. 11th.

  35. Kipluck says

    My problem with the New Normal is that it looks like an unfunny Modern Family. I am Mormon. I live in Utah. I like Modern Family. (and, for the record, yes, I have gay friends and family members) I will watch Modern Family (which also features “2 gay dads and their kids”) because it is funny and well done… but I won’t be watching New Normal on EITHER day/channel because I see it more as Old Ripoff.

  36. Riley says

    It’s too bad that one city is choosing to be left behind the times. I see nothing wrong with making a show that sheds light on a hot topic. The New Normal has a good message and is a great comedy. One of my DISH coworkers and I were talking about our favorite shows, and she brought up The New Normal as one of her new favorites. After watching it using the PrimeTime Anytime feature on my Hopper from DISH, which records all four major networks, I could see why she likes it so much. I haven’t missed a single episode because of the feature either! I hope The New Normal continues well into the future.

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