CBS Censors Alice Cooper’s Performance on The Late Late Show

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Alice Cooper was back on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show on CBS the other night, and entertained the studio audience with a performance of a song from his new album Along Came A Spider. The song, entitled “Vengeance Is Mine,” was enjoyed in its entirety by the studio audience (depending on individual tastes, of course), but that was not the case for the home viewers.

During a particular portion of the performance, Cooper pretends to strangle a female from the studio audience with a silk scarf. Cooper’s new album tells the story of a serial killer, a subject that should not be considered unusual for Cooper, who has a decades-long reputation as a shock rocker who is known for his creepy theatrics during his live performances.alice-cooper

Well, whoever it is at CBS that decides what’s appropriate for broadcast and what is not, decided that  Cooper’s faux strangulation was a little too much for the late-night home audience, and the segment was cut from the broadcast.

Does anyone else detect a whiff of hypocrisy in the air emanating from CBS? This is the network that broadcasts programs like Criminal Minds, that CBS describes as a program that “revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again.”

Looking at the website for the program, it appears there is no shortage of scenes that some might consider a bit too graphic for TV. Check out the video excerpt of the episode called “Officer Down,” and decide for yourself if that’s more graphic than Alice Cooper pretending to strangle someone with a silk scarf.

By the way, Criminal Minds airs at 9:00 PM, more than three hours earlier than The Late Late Show which comes on at 12:35 AM.

CBS also carries the CSI series of programs, and although I have never watched an episode, I suspect there are plenty of graphic scenes featured on those programs, which air at either 9:00 or 10:00 PM.

I’m sure there are other programs on CBS that regularly feature graphic and violent scenes, but I think I’ve made my point.

I don’t consider myself much of an Alice Cooper fan, but I don’t like hypocrisy, and censoring Alice Cooper pretending to strangle someone during a program that airs in the wee hours of the morning while airing programs containing scenes of people being blown up or shot hours earlier in the evening sure smells like hypocrisy to me.

3 Comments

  1. Josie October 2, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Sorry, I don’t think this is censorship in the first place. I obviously haven’t seen the part of his performance where he strangles the lady, but maybe it just wasn’t entertaining. It’s not like the FCC made them take it out, and CBS isn’t afraid to show graphic scenes as you pointed out in your post. Maybe the audience member was up in arms about it. Who knows? But I’ll give CBS the benefit of the doubt since they haven’t earned themselves a reputation for censorship in the past.

    Josies last blog post..AC/DC ADDED SOME DATES!

  2. Real Rock News October 2, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Apparently, you haven’t heard too many details of this episode. A quote from the Detroit Free Press reads: “The album tells the story of a serial killer and as part of the song, Cooper was going to reenact a piece of his video by picking a female from the audience to choke with a silk scarf. But CBS standards and practices snipped out the strangulation. Cooper’s people say Ferguson loved the bit but had to yield to the powers-that-be.”

    If it was entertaining enough for the host of the show, who one would assume has some measure of control over the show, I doubt it was removed because it was “not entertaining enough.”

    I also can’t buy the theory that the audience reaction was responsible for the decision that CBS standards and practices made to cut out that part of the performance.

    If this incident does not represent censorship, I cannot imagine what would. Sure, it’s CBS’s right to broadcast what they want (within the law, of course), but the fact remains that Cooper’s performance was censored.

    Perhaps CBS is not known to have a reputation for censorship, but maybe they earned one for themselves now.

    My original article wasn’t written with the intent of making CBS appear evil, but more to point out the hypocrisy of allowing graphic content of one type, and not allowing something else that I suspect was less graphic than some of the scenes from the other CBS programs I mentioned.

    I do however, appreciate you stopping and taking the time to share your opinion.

  3. Layla October 2, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    This is blatant censorship and discrimination against rock and roll. Seriously. Look at the shows that came on before it…look at all the graphic reenactments of REAL CRIMES on TV. This is Alice Cooper people – how dare you! I agree with you on this. If they didn’t want him to be himself (actually his persona) they should not have invited him on the show!!! Shame on them.

    Laylas last blog post..The Ripple Effect on the Radio, with special guest…me!

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