Parents group assails 'CSI' as worst show

— Television's most popular program, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," is also its least family-friendly, a TV watchdog group said Thursday.

The Parents Television Council criticized the CBS drama for stories about cannibalism, S&M; sex clubs and snuff films.

What's worse is that CBS occasionally reruns the show at the 8 p.m. hour when more children are likely to be watching, said Melissa Caldwell, research director for the 800,000-member organization that monitors sex and violence on TV. The group released its annual list of the best and worst prime-time shows.

The Thursday night drama usually tops the Nielsen Media Research weekly prime-time ratings and has already been responsible for one spinoff series, "CSI: Miami."

As forensics investigators, the lead "CSI" characters might be expected to bear witness to some seedy situations. But Caldwell said, "There are ways you can deal with these issues without having to be as graphic."

CBS spokesman Chris Ender said that while the PTC's goals are noble, "to put the label worst in front of 'CSI' in any capacity is pretty ridiculous. Thankfully, 26 million viewers a week don't agree."

The organization saluted CBS' "Touched By an Angel," which ended its nine-year run last spring, as television's best show.

"Every episode emphasized the power of goodness over evil, the need to strengthen familial relationships, the importance of individual responsibility and an encouragement to maintain faith in God," the PTC said.

The organization's 10 best shows: "Touched By an Angel," CBS; "Doc," Pax; "Sue Thomas F. B. Eye," Pax; "7th Heaven," WB; "Life with Bonnie," ABC; "Smallville," WB; "Reba," WB; "Star Search," CBS; "George Lopez," ABC and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teen-age Daughter," ABC.

The PTC's 10 worst: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS; "Kingpin," NBC; "Fastlane," Fox; "NYPD Blue," ABC; "Fear Factor," NBC; "Angel," WB; "Girlfriends," UPN; "Will & Grace," NBC; "Friends," NBC and "Big Brother 3," CBS.


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