The FCC has gone cuckoo over Coco -- and not in a good way.
The federal agency that regulates the airwaves wants to hit TBS with a $25,000 fine for a promo of Conan O'Brien's nightly talk show.
The reason? The spot for "Conan" that aired this summer spoofed the Emergency Alert System, which the FCC takes seriously. The EAS -- a successor to the old Emergency Broadcasting System, whose tests would interrupt TV and radio broadcasts -- is designed to ensure that top government officials can communicate directly with the public during national crises or natural disasters.
The "Conan" promo used the familiar and jarring tones that precede EAS messages -- which is a no-no for the FCC, which helps administer the system.
"Today's enforcement action sends a strong message: the FCC will not tolerate misuse or abuse of the Emergency Alert System," FCC official Robert H. Ratcliffe said, according to Broadcasting & Cable.
Turner, which owns TBS, explained that the spot was produced quickly and wasn't reviewed by the network's standards and practices department, which typically examines all material that airs for possible FCC violations, according to the B&C story. Some viewers had complained about the promo even before the FCC's decision.
A Turner spokeswoman said the company would not comment.
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