Super Bowl broadcast will have five-second delay

Friday, February 3rd 2006, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ ABC is putting a five-second defensive line between the Super Bowl and television viewers.

The tape delay, for the game itself as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game entertainment, is an apparent echo of the Janet Jackson ``wardrobe malfunction'' that marred the 2004 broadcast on CBS.

The delay, according to ABC, is the first-ever in the 40-year history of the Super Bowl.

While ABC confirmed the broadcast delay, network officials who could explain when the decision was made and why were not immediately available, an ABC spokeswoman said Friday.

A tape delay was in place for the past two years of ABC's ``Monday Night Football.''

The decision drew immediate praise from the Parents Television Council, a media watchdog group. The halftime show this year features the Rolling Stones.

``ABC has wisely decided to ensure that this year's Super Bowl is not hijacked by raunchy performers as it was in 2004,'' said L. Brent Bozell, PTC president. ``Now, we hope that millions of families can safely watch this family program without the worry of seeing inappropriate sexual content or hearing vulgar language.''

In the 2004 halftime show, a musical number featuring Jackson and Justin Timberlake ended with him ripping her costume and exposing a breast _ nudity that Jackson said went beyond what was planned.

The episode prompted a flurry of criticism, congressional hearings, stricter Federal Communication Commission rules and triggered $550,000 in fines against the 20 CBS-owned stations that carried the game.

Short delays on live events as a way of keeping something inappropriate from airing became much more popular in the aftermath of the Jackson affair.

Last year's Super Bowl broadcast on Fox featured a tamer performance by Paul McCartney and did not include a delay. Before the game, the network said it was treating it as a news event and didn't believe ``in tape delaying news events.''

Besides this Sunday's halftime act with Mick Jagger and the Stones, Stevie Wonder will perform in the pre-show in Detroit.

Each year's Super Bowl audience generally approaches 90 million people, by far the largest television turnout of the year.