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Stars, network execs on TV violence

2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6

2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6

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Updated: February 22, 2013 6:08AM

Hollywood stars and network executives weighed in on the topic of television violence during interviews at the recent TV critics’ press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

Chris Rock, comedian

“The world was so much more violent before TV. During feudalism, what were they watching? Killing Indians? What show did they watch?”

Rock said the answer is a ban on certain firearms.

“There’s no need for assault weapons. There’s Indy cars that go 400 miles an hour. They’re not on the street. Anybody can’t drive one. Only racecar drivers.”

Nina Tassler,
CBS entertainment president

Tassler said it’s ultimately up to parents to decide what their kids see on TV. She doesn’t let her 14-year-old watch “Criminal Minds,” one of the net’s many police procedurals that she says are appropriate — even reassuring — for adults:

“At the end of the day, justice is served, the good guys prevail and the bad guy goes to jail. That is the paradigm of our shows, the mini-morality stories that play out every week. I believe our audience derives a certain sense of comfort knowing the Frank Reagans of the world [Tom Selleck in “Blue Bloods”] and the Gary Sinises [“CSI: NY”] of the world are out there putting bad guys behind bars.”

John Landgraf, head of FX

Landgraf, whose cable net brings us “American Horror Story” and “Sons of Anarchy,” called for the entertainment industry to study whether there’s a link between violence in the virtual and real world. He pointed out that England and the U.S. are socioeconomically similar countries that consume much of the same media, but the incidence of fatal shootings is more than 90 times higher in the States.

“Same movies, same television shows, same video games. ‘Call of Duty’ is a very popular game in England. ‘Walking Dead’ is the No. 1 cable show in England. ‘Sons of Anarchy’ is very popular in England. James Bond kills an awful lot of people with a gun.”

Landgraf added that he supports the Second Amendment and believes Americans have the right to own guns for protection.

“But last time I checked, I think a shotgun or a handgun that has a six-round clip are very good weapons, perfectly adequate weapons for self-defense in the home.”

Giancarlo Esposito, actor

“We’ve always seen too much violence on television. I don’t want to portray characters who are violent gratuitously,” said the “Revolution” star, who played ruthless killer and drug lord Gus Fring in “Breaking Bad.”

Esposito noted that TV violence, when handled appropriately, could be a deterrent.

“By having violence in our entertainment world, it can guide us to be repulsed by it. I would look forward to that happening more and more. I live very near Newtown, Conn., and it absolutely devastated me that I had friends in that community who were affected by that horrible thing. Why do we need guns?”

Jennifer Salke,
NBC entertainment president

Salke said TV violence isn’t a pressing issue at her network, which plans to launch its own serial-killer series, “Hannibal,” later this year.

“If our whole schedule had a huge amount of that stuff and we’re the shoot-’em-up network — I just don’t think we are. We’ll continue to talk about it and we do. None of us are fans of huge violence.”

Lori Rackl

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