It’s a drastic step when a television network changes its programming in the wake of a national tragedy. But nowadays it’s all too common to see a show pulled, delayed, or even changed out of sensitivity for current events. In the wake of the recent massacre in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 dead and hundreds more injured, FX has a scheduled episode of “American Horror Story” that features a mass shooting set to air Oct. 10. Will the network make changes around the episode? Here TheWrap recalls 12 other shows that have altered programming in the face of real-world violence.
40th Annual Academy Awards
The awards show was originally scheduled for April 8, 1968, but was postponed two days out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated four days earlier. A number of attendees, including Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr., planned to attend the slain civil rights leader’s funeral — held on the same day as the original Oscars date — and had said they wouldn’t attend the awards show.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
The Joss Whedon supernatural drama was affected not once but twice by real world events, specifically the Columbine massacre. The show’s third season had two episodes that featured school violence. One, called “Earshot,” featured a plot concerning a student who goes to the top of a tower with a rifle. It was set to run a week after Columbine, but was pulled and postponed.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
The Season 3 finale “Graduation Day, Part Two” also featured violence on school grounds. Specifically (and spoilers for a nearly 20-year-old episode), the school is destroyed. Two hours before it was set to air, the WB postponed the episode, fearing fallout from Columbine. The finale’s airing was delayed for two months, but fans were furious about the decision and the network ended up posting it online.
53rd Annual Emmy Awards
That year’s Primetime Emmys were set to air on Sept. 16, 2001, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 caused it to be postponed. The awards were postponed a second time after the U.S. launched airstrikes against Afghanistan. The ceremony was eventually held in November, with Ellen Degeneres hosting, but it still marks the first and only time a major awards show had to be postponed twice.
In the Season 8 episode “The One Where Rachel Tells…” a scene that originally had Chandler joking about a bomb in an airport — leading to him and Monica getting detained — was changed following Sept. 11. The scene was reshot with Monica complaining about another newlywed couple that got perks.
The Bryan Fuller series about Hannibal Lecter never shied away from gore and viscera, but the show’s fourth episode, “Oeuf” was pulled completely from the airwaves. The plot revolved around a woman who was brainwashing children to kill their families. While the episode was set to air in April 2013 — four months after the Sandy Hook shooting — NBC delayed airing it indefinitely due to the subject matter. The episode has never aired.
“Castle” made a small change following the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 since the episode “Still” involves the team looking and trying to dismantle a time sensitive bomb. It was eventually switched with the next episode in the lineup, delaying its airing by one week.
“The Cosby Show”
When the Bill Cosby sexual assault scandal hit a peak in 2015, many networks and people moved quickly to separate themselves from the comedian. This included TV Land, BET, Bounce TV and other networks refusing to air reruns of his sitcom “The Cosby Show.” However, the real loss was from NBC, which decided to cancel plans to develop a new Cosby show.
“19 Kids and Counting”
Josh Duggar, the eldest of the titular 19 kids, became the focus of a sexual molestation scandal. However, TLC took a few weeks to issue a decision on the reality show’s fate. The network eventually decided to cancel the show.
The Season 1 finale of USA Network’s hacker thriller had to be postponed because it contained a scene similar to the events that occurred on the same day. In Roanoke, Va. on Aug. 26, 2015, a former reporter killed two of his colleagues live on air. The shooter died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. In the “Mr. Robot” finale, somebody commits suicide during a broadcast. USA aired the episode the following week.
An episode of the IFC mockumentary series starring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen was also postponed due to the Roanoke shootings. “Dronez: The Hunt for El Chingon,” was about two journalists who decide to track a notorious drug kingpin despite safety concerns. The episode was replaced with “Kunuk” and aired it a week later.
“The Last Ship”
The Season 3 premiere of “The Last Ship” was postponed following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. The episode featured a shooting at a Vietnamese nightclub.
USA Network shelved the 2017 series premiere of its Ryan Phillippe-led sniper series “Shooter” for a number of months following a mass shooting in Dallas, Texas, which saw 12 police officers and two civilians shot by a sniper during an otherwise peaceful protest.
The Paramount Network delayed the launch of its 2018 sitcom based on the 1998 high school-set dark comedy “out of respect” for the victims of the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The original film featured multiple high schoolers killing themselves and each other.
“Alternatino with Arturo Castro”
The Comedy Central sketch show’s seventh episode featured a sketch about mass shootings, and was pulled after a gunman killed three people at a garlic festival in Northern California two days before it was scheduled to air. In the sketch, Castro played a Guatemalan immigrant who is confused by the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. The network originally planned to play the episode one week later, on August 6, but after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio killed 30 people on August 3 and 4, it is possible that the episode will be postponed again.