The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: CENSORING EVEN PBS: Richard Dreyfuss reluctantly bleeps a show he made for PBS to keep them out of trouble. Good quotes ensue:

Three foul words, including the F-word, have been bleeped from a new PBS drama, much to the chagrin of Richard Dreyfuss, its star and executive producer.

Dreyfuss and fellow executive producer David Black, a veteran TV writer, said that they reluctantly agreed to abide by new Federal Communications Commission language standards, but only to keep PBS, producing station KCET/Hollywood and other public TV stations from being slapped with onerous fines.

The drama, “Cop Shop,” which also stars Blair Brown, Rosie Perez, Rita Moreno and Jay Thomas, is to air Oct. 6 as the latest edition of the “PBS Hollywood Presents” series.

Dreyfuss and Black spelled out their reasons for the compliance in statements read at the outset of a session Friday at the TV critics’ summer press tour in Century City. Each also criticized the political pressures that led to the bleeps in the two-part, 90-minute program.

“The new FCC regulations represent an unacceptable assault on our First Amendment rights, on everyone’s First Amendment rights, an act unworthy of a free country, an act of censorship,” Black told the critics. To underscore the irony of the required bleeping, Black added: “As for the word ‘f—,’ I stand with Vice President (Dick) Cheney, who recently used the word on the Senate floor and who said sometimes you have to use it unapologetically because it makes you feel better afterwards.”

Dreyfuss, speaking via satellite from New York, where he is starring in “Sly Fox” on Broadway even as he battles pneumonia, called the required deletion of the words “a real-world moral and ethical battle with grimly wrongheaded un-American types who play pick and choose when they define our freedoms of speech and religion as it fits their particular political needs.”

He added: “Officeholders should remember that we are not children and shouldn’t be patronized or protected from ourselves.”