The Federal Communications Commission ruled Monday (March 14) that a skit showing “Desperate Housewives” star Nicolette Sheridan and Terrell Owens that aired on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” was not indecent.
The unanimous ruling refutes complaints about the show-opening sketch, which aired Nov. 15 and featured Sheridan, portraying her “Housewives” character, Edie Britt, trying to seduce Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens.
“Although sexually suggestive,” the FCC’s ruling states, the segment “is not graphic or explicit. Owens is fully dressed throughout the segment, and, with the exception of a moment when her bare back is exposed to the audience, Sheridan is at all times fully covered with a towel.”
The commission’s ruling also notes that “[n]o sexual or excretory organs are shown or described, and no sexual activities are explicitly depicted or described.”
Sheridan and show creator Marc Cherry, who helped write the sketch, expressed surprise at the uproar it caused. “We were just stunned, and we felt bad about it,” he said.
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps agreed with the ruling but scolded ABC for showing poor judgment.
“There wasn’t much self-discipline in this particular promotion,” Copps says in a statement. “As stewards of the public airwaves, broadcasters can and should do better.”