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Station Yanks 'Hannibal' in Salt Lake City, Citing Violence, Complaints

Station Yanks 'Hannibal' in Salt Lake City, Citing Violence, Complaints
Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, right, in a scene from the NBC TV series "Hannibal."

By    |   Wednesday, 01 May 2013 12:15 PM

"Hannibal" has been yanked by a station in Utah over concerns that the NBC crime drama is too violent. KSL TV announced it was yanking the show via Facebook.

"After viewing the past few episodes, as well as receiving numerous complaints from viewers, KSL TV will cancel the airing of the NBC show Hannibal on Thursday evenings," the station posted. "This decision was made due to the extensive graphic nature of this show. The time slot will be replaced with a special edition of KSL 5 News at 9 p.m. NBC remains a valued partner to KSL TV. KSL is confident that with the proliferation of digital media, those who wish to view the program can easily do so."

In April, an episode of its serial killer drama "Hannibal" will be pulled by NBC out of sensitivity to recent violence, including the Newtown, Conn. school shooting and the Boston bombings, the network announced Friday.

The "Hannibal" episode features a character, played by guest star Molly Shannon, who brainwashes children to kill other children, according to The Associated Press.

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"Hannibal" executive producer Bryan Fuller asked NBC to pull the episode, citing the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December and the Boston Marathon attack, NBC spokesman Stuart Levine said.

NBC's Fuller said he began talking with NBC executives several weeks ago about keeping the episode off the air. His concern about the "Hannibal" episode was prompted by Newtown and reinforced by the Boston violence.

Although the "Hannibal" story is unrelated to real-world events, the intent was "to be sensitive to where we are as a nation," Fuller said.

The episode, the fourth for the freshman series, will be replaced by another "Hannibal" hour. Viewers will not see a plot continuity issue, Levine said.

But a "clip package" with scenes from the unaired episode will be available at NBC.com next week, without the scenes of child violence and with commentary by Fuller. That will allow viewers to keep current with the show's larger story arcs, the producer said.

"Hannibal" stars Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, the brilliant cannibalistic killer seen on the big screen in "The Silence of the Lambs" and its sequel and introduced in the Thomas Harris novel "Red Dragon." Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne also star in the drama.

There have been other instances of networks responding quickly to the potentially difficult overlap between fact and fiction.

ABC has delayed airing an episode of the crime drama "Castle" in which a main character, New York police Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), steps on a pressure-sensitive bomb. It had been scheduled to air next Monday, one week after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 180.

"Out of respect," Katic tweeted Wednesday.

NBC isn't the only network to pull an episode from their lineup for sensitivity's sake. Last December, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, the Syfy channel pulled an episode of the series "Haven" that featured a campus violence story line.

Fox aired an episode of "Glee" depicting a school shooting a few weeks ago, sparking widespread backlash against the network on social media.

Less than a week later, Fox aired an episode of "Family Guy" depicting the main character as a marathon runner in reference to the bombings, sparking even more outrage. Executives decided to never air it again.

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"Hannibal" has been yanked by a station in Utah over concerns that the NBC crime drama is too violent. KSL TV announced it was yanking the show via Facebook.
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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 12:15 PM
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