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Complaints cited in station’s decision to withdraw show

March 27, 1987

Spokane Chronicle

The decision to withdraw the show “Spitting Image” from KHQ-TV’s lineup Thursday night was based on “negative responses” from the public to the previous two episodes of the program, said Jack Reber, KHQ vice president and general manager.

The program, which would have been shown at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, poked fun at the upcoming Academy Awards and was hosted by David Frost.

The show’s humor is derived from its puppets, which resemble famous Hollywood personalities.

A New York Times columnist called the show a “hilariously scathing spoof” and described the work that went into creating the puppets as “detailed artistry.”

Reber, however, described the puppets as “grotesque characters.”

“We did not feel it was a good-quality broadcast,” he said. “It is a very rare occasion that we will cover (not show) a program.”

“There has been negative reaction all over the country to the previous airings of ‘Spitting Image,’” he said.

Officials at KHQ-TV, an NBC affiliate since 1952, previewed the show two weeks ago and decided then not to run the episode, Reber said.

At 9:30 the station announced the program was not being aired. In its place, a rerun of “M*A*S*H” was shown.

KHQ employees said the station received 105 phone calls from viewers within an hour of the announcement. Only two of the callers supported the station’s decision to remove the show.

Up to an hour before the show was to air nationally, viewers in Spokane saw a series of commercials promoting the program. Reber said those were network commercials broadcast across the country and that his station had no control over them.

Friday, March 27, 1987

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From → KHQ

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