FCC Proposes $272,000 Fine Against CBS’ ‘Young Sheldon’ for Use of Emergency Alert

Agency cites April episode of “Big Bang Theory” spinoff

Last Updated: September 10, 2019 @ 12:07 PM

The hit CBS sitcom “Young Sheldon” is in hot water with the FCC over its use of sound effects evoking the Emergency Alert System tone during an episode that aired last April, and the agency is now proposing a $272,000 fine.

The episode, titled “A Mother, A Child, and a Blue Man’s Backside,” aired April 22 and featured a character watching the broadcast of a cartoon that is interrupted by a tornado watch. The moment featured a background sound similar to the EAS tone. The tone was altered in an attempt to avoid violating FCC rules that forbid using such tones except during actual emergency situations or authorized tests, but in a statement released Monday night, the FCC said the show didn’t go far enough.

“On April 12, 2018, CBS transmitted an episode of “Young Sheldon” via at least 227 television stations, including 15 of CBS’s owned-and-operated television stations. The episode included a sound effect accompanying a tornado warning, which the producers modified, but still audibly resembled actual EAS tones,” the FCC said.

CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

The statement cited recent settlements with ABC, AMC, Discovery and Meruelo Radio over use of real or simulated alert tones in making its recommendation about the episode of “Young Sheldon.”

Cautioning that “neither the allegations nor the proposed sanctions in the NAL are final FCC actions,” in its statement, the FCC said that “CBS will be given an opportunity to respond and the FCC will consider their submission of evidence and legal arguments before acting further to resolve the matter.”

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