LOS ANGELES, December 17, 2004 ( – A new study revealed that religion, as depicted on television, has become increasingly negative and doesn’t reflect the viewpoints of a majority of Americans. The study also found that NBC leads the other major networks by far in terms of the number of negative depictions of faith.  Conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC), the study titled Faith in a Box: Entertainment Television and Religion, found that the treatment of religion, especially as depicted in an institutional or doctrinal context was “strikingly negative,” according to a PTC press release.  “Catholicism is in the bulls-eye of the entertainment medium,” Brent Bozell, president of the PTC said, as reported by the AP.  The PYC release highlighted the role that religion plays in the lives of American citizens: “According to a 2003 Harris Poll, 90 percent of Americans believe in God and 80 percent of those polled believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The popularity of religious movies like The Passion of the Christ reflects the base of faith in the US.  A total of 2,385 hours of primetime entertainment programming on the seven commercial broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Pax, UPN, WB) were analyzed and contained 2,344 treatments of religion. In the PTC’s last study on religion, done in 1997, the PTC found only 551 treatments of religion in 1,800 hours of programming.  The study highlighted that NBC was the decisive leader in broadcasting negative depictions of faith and religion. NBC programming had 9.5 negative treatments for every positive treatment of faith.

The study also found that negative depictions of clergy were more than twice as frequent as positive depictions – 36.2 percent negative compared to 14.6 percent positive.  “Religion and the public expression of faith is a crucial element in the lives of most Americans. Our findings should challenge Hollywood to accurately reflect this in television content,” Bozell said.  To read the full study on-line, visit:   Tv