The FCC's Enforcement Bureau handed out six-figure fines to two popular shows. ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the long-enduring AMC series The Walking Dead were caught up in the FCC sweeps for a reason you wouldn't expect.
The Walking Dead is a violent, morally ambiguous show, so it should come as no surprise that the FCC would give them a second look. This time, though, it was their sound effects that got them in trouble. Both Jimmy and TWD were fined hefty amounts for "misusing" the Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert tones. Both series also had to commit to "a strict compliance plan to ensure such actions do not recur."
If you have ever been driving and a song or radio show used a car horn in the background, you understand the thinking behind the Alert guidelines. The FCC prohibits the use of the actual or simulated EAS tones during non emergencies or proper use moments. The regulator explained that the rules are meant to avoid "false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones." As well as to, "protect the integrity of the alert system by helping to avoid confusion when the tones are used, and alert fatigue among listeners."
The Walking Dead was left with a $104,000 fine for using the EAS tone twice in a February episode titled Omega. The tones may have been removed since, but the episode followed a series of flashbacks that may have incorporated the noice. The FCC stated that the sound was "transmitted on eight separate instances across cable and satellite systems nationwide," because of the zombie-fighting show. Kimmel meanwhile was given a $395,000 fine for using a simulated WEA tone three times during a sketch that reached 250 TV stations.
Although disappointing for the network, these fines will in no way impede The Walking Dead from trucking along. Despite comic creator Robert Kirkman's decision to end the comic book series and the show's falling viewership, AMC is actually expanding the universe. Alongside the parent series, which is set to return for its tenth season, and the current Fear the Walking Dead series, AMC has another spinoff series in the works from Kirkman, Dave Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and Scott M. Gimple. It will center on the first generation of people to grow during the zombie apocalypse. TWD OG, Andrew Lincoln, is also set to reprise his role as Rick Grimes in a The Walking Dead movie trilogy.
Season 10 of The Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, October 6 at 9pm. The first episode is written by showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang and directed by executive producer Greg Nicotero. The cast will see Norman Reedus' Daryl front and center along with Melissa McBride (Carol), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Ryan Hurst (Beta), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Avi Nash (Siddiq), Nadia Hilker (Magna), Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko) and Cailey Fleming (Judith).
This news comes to us from Deadline.