Contact: Christopher Heffron
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July 15, 2001   363 Words


Advertisers Promote Family-friendly Television

CINCINNATI—If you are embarrassed while watching television with your family because of the increased amount of sex and violence, help is on the way from a group of over 40 advertisers. Robert Wehling, global marketing and government relations officer at Proctor & Gamble Company, and Andrea Alstrup, vice president of advertising at Johnson & Johnson, spearheaded the development of the Family Friendly Programming Forum. The Forum has financed the script development for programs that attract a multigenerational audience. WB’s highly praised Gilmore Girls is one of its first success stories.

Assistant Editor Mary Jo Dangel’s interview with Bob Wehling in the August issue of St. Anthony Messenger explains what the Forum is doing and what viewers can do. The story can also be found at:

Wehling, the father of six, credits a speech he heard Alstrup give to a group of advertisers in 1998 for sparking the formation of the Forum. Alstrup said,  “As a mother myself, I am embarrassed and outraged by a lot of what I see in the media...the environment in which a message runs is part of the message.” By the end of 1999, 36 companies had joined the Forum including Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM, Nestlé, Sears and Wendy’s.

Wehling explains that WB was the first network to join in the Forum’s script-development initiative. Jamie Kellner, CEO of the WB, says that the first year “yielded a number of high-quality, family-friendly scripts, three pilots and one series, Gilmore Girls, which television critics call the best new show of the season.” During the past year, ABC, CBS and NBC have also joined this initiative.

In addition to funding the development of family-friendly scripts for new series, the Forum honors existing programs with Family Television Awards. Past winners include Touched by an Angel, The Wonderful World of Disney and The West Wing. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for August 2.

 “We’ve told everybody we’re in this for the long term,” emphasizes Wehling. “The problem didn’t get created overnight; the solution won’t happen overnight.”


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