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Mock Tornado Alert on CBS’s ‘Young Sheldon’ Draws Proposed Fine

Susan Decker

(Bloomberg) -- The hit CBS Corp. comedy “Young Sheldon” about a child genius, wasn’t so smart when it came to a mock tornado warning, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Even modified, the tornado warning sounded too much like the Emergency Alert System, which is a violation of agency rules, the agency said. It’s proposing a $272,000 fine for the network’s April 12, 2018, episode, according to a notice on the FCC website. CBS will get a chance to respond before any fine is imposed.

The FCC is cracking down on what it says are potentially dangerous uses of the emergency alerts in television shows. The alerts are used to warn the public about emergency events like dangerous weather. Using them in television shows could confuse listeners and is a “serious public safety concern,” the agency said.

Last month, the FCC lobbed a $395,000 penalty against ABC over the use of an alert during a comedy sketch on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” $68,000 against Discovery Communications Inc. for an Animal Planet episode and $104,000 against AMC Networks Inc. for two episodes of “The Walking Dead.”

The “Young Sheldon” episode aired on 227 television stations, including 15 owned and operated by CBS, according to the FCC. The show is a crossover of “The Big Bang Theory,” telling about the childhood of “Big Bang” character Sheldon Cooper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Wendy Benjaminson

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