Sixty-six ABC affiliates, covering nearly one-third of the country, ultimately decided not to air the movie "Saving Private Ryan" on Veterans Day due to skittishness over whether the Federal Communications Commission would deem it indecent.
The FCC received complaints about ABC's broadcast and will review them to decide whether to open an investigation, a spokeswoman said Friday.
There are a total of 225 ABC stations. All 10 stations owned and operated by the network showed the movie, but affiliates in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Nashville, Honolulu, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., were among those that did not.
Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie opens with a violent depiction of the D-Day invasion and includes profanity. Thursday's airing was the third time it had been shown on ABC.
"The overwhelming majority of viewers were comfortable with our decision to run 'Saving Private Ryan' and if the FCC wants us to respond to a complaint, we will," ABC spokeswoman Susan Sewell said.
The stations were made nervous by the FCC's September decision to fine CBS a record $550,000 for showing a brief flash of Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl halftime show. The FCC could impose an indecency fine of up to $32,500 on each station that aired "Saving Private Ryan."
Many of the stations that did not air the movie told viewers upset by the decision to contact the FCC.