FCC Launches Super Bowl Halftime Probe

WASHINGTON, D.C. Federal Communica-
tions Commission chairman Michael Powell on Monday said he is launching an investigation into the halftime show aired on CBS last night during the Super Bowl after singer Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed.

CBS on Tuesday said it is enhancing its ability to edit out “any inappropriate and unexpected events” from the upcoming 46th Annual Grammy Awards telecast on Sunday. The procedure will include the ability to delete audio and video footage, the network said in a statement.

The incident occurred at the end of Jackson’s performance with singer Justin Timberlake. After singing the words, “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” Timberlake reached over and pulled off the material covering Jackson’s breast to reveal a metal nipple decoration.

“I am outraged at what I saw during the halftime show of the Super Bowl,” Powell said in a statement today. “Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration. Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt. Our nation’s children, parents and citizens deserve better. “

A CBS representative said, “CBS deeply regrets the incident,” after the network received calls about the halftime show. The show, which also featured P. Diddy, Nelly and Kid Rock, was produced by MTV, which, like CBS, is part of Viacom.

Powell has ordered the investigation at a time when Congress is considering legislation that would increase the fines a station faces for indecent broadcasts to $275,000 per incident from the current $27,500. “Our investigation will be thorough and swift,” Powell said.

This story updates an item posted on Feb. 2 with the news that CBS will enhance its editing measures for the Grammy Awards.