Ever since ratings for movies came out, people have wondered about changing the rating system. What is currently rated PG or PG-13 may have been R 20 to 30 years ago, and today’s R rating would have kept many movies out of the theater.
TV rating systems, however, have changed little in the same amount of time, even with the rapidly changing movie rating system. Changing TV ratings would be somewhat moot at this point, especially with the advent of satellite TV and higher availability of cable programming.
Consider some of the average cable and satellite television programs available today. Reality trash TV such as “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” clearly may not be appropriate for younger audiences, but the same channels that produce these shows frequently have shows featuring live births and other acts of nature. These shows may feature a warning or caveat at the beginning of the program, but outside of the brief information on the screen, very little else is said about the program’s content.
Granted, some of the premium programming channels still maintain a more strict rating system, but these premium channels are completely optional. The optional aspect of the premium channels means the production companies have considerably more leeway in creating programs for different audiences. If premium channel wishes to market to adults, they may do so freely.
Changing the current system of TV ratings seems almost moot in the face of what is in current production and airing. As long as families can tune into shows such as “South Park” and “Family Guy” and be warned ahead of time of the content, changing TV ratings will do no more good than the Parental Advisory labels of the 1990’s.