Sexually Oriented Programs on 'ABC Family' Rile Viewers

The formerly family friendly cable network "ABC Family" has been airing sexually oriented programs of late that are riling parents of young children.

In particular, the hit series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" is so racy that viewer discretion is advised.

Such seems to go against the concept of a "family" channel, wouldn't you think?

On Sunday, The Los Angeles Times addressed the growing debate (sneak peek video of upcoming "Secret Life" season premiere embedded below the fold):

The TV series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" opens with a 15-year-old girl coming home from band practice, reaching into her French horn case and pulling out a home pregnancy test. Her horrified look confirms the results.

No less startled are some parents whose children watch the ABC Family cable program that revolves around the sex lives of high school students. The titillating themes, in their view, are out of place on a channel with the word "family" in its name -- especially given the chaste image of its owner, Walt Disney Co.

But "Secret Life" has become ABC Family's biggest hit and one of the most popular shows on cable, drawing an average 3.8 million viewers an episode. With depictions of teens rolling out of bed, a father peppering his daughters with questions about their sex lives at the dinner table, and a troubled boy revealing that he had been molested by his father, "Secret Life" represents a coming of age for a channel founded by evangelist Pat Robertson to spread the Gospel.

"Coming of age" maybe, but is this appropriate fare for a network that has historically catered to children?

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