Egor S. Grand

[this is satire]

Despite the election appearing to be a referendum on morality - with red states taking the cultural high ground - television ratings tell a different story. In fact it seems that whether one lives in a blue state or a red state, sex, sin and debauchery sells on television.

Network executives, eager to cash in on the religious right's hold on the American populace, are taking these new findings very seriously, says one executive, who declined to be identified. "Look," he said, "the minute the election was over, we started going through the old scripts and series ideas, you know the ones where religion figures in prominently. Then, we start juxtaposing the election with the ratings and we realize, whoa, people say they're moral, but they seem to have an insatiable appetite for immorality."

The solution seems to be reflected in the just-released mid-season replacements, slated for premiere in January.

CBS, for example, is releasing two new dramas and one reality show. According to the network's press release, Bad-Touched by an Angel, based on the successful Touched by an Angel, will feature "fallen angels' attempts to lure the unwilling into salacious predicaments." The new drama Freeway to Heaven will feature a truck driver who picks up hitchhikers. The truck driver, played by David Hofflehass, will be a "conflicted character, possibly bi-sexual, and certainly predatory, who has opposing forces of good and evil colliding inside him." The reality show, of which there was little information at press time, is called The Amazing Race to Third Base.

NBC, ABC and Fox are all racing to put their own new menu of shows together. The cable networks are also seeking to blend religion and titillation, and it can be surmised that, already ahead of the curve, they'll likely push the envelope further. Evidence of this is the soon-to-be-released made-for-Showtime film The Passionate Christ and the upcoming HBO mini-series The Many Temptations of Christ.

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