Despite their Super Bowl shenanigans, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake are still scheduled to appear Sunday at the Grammys, but this time, CBS will be ready. The network says it plans to broadcast the live event on a tape delay that will allow CBS censors not only to silence outbursts of profanity but also snip out objectionable visual displays. Following CBS' lead, ABC looks to impose a tape-delay on the Oscars for the first time as well.
Usually when networks broadcast live events on tape delay, they leave a window of just a few seconds and edit out only audio embarrassments, but the CBS delay on the Grammys could give the network as much as five minutes of wiggle room, and it will also allow for video editing, in case anyone else wants to show off their nipple jewelry. ''Unfortunately, we cannot count on those who appear on our air to live up to our standards,'' CBS executive vice president Martin Franks told the Associated Press.
Jackson apologized again on Wednesday for her halftime performance, issuing a somber statement on videotape where she reiterated her previous assertion that CBS, concert producer MTV, and the NFL had no prior knowledge that she would let Timberlake rip off her snap-on bodice, and that she didn't mean for the stunt to go as far as her collapsing lace bra allowed it to go. ''I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention,'' she said. She's still scheduled to present an award at the Grammys, while Timberlake, who is up for five trophies, is supposed to perform. Grammy officials said they were unlikely to disinvite the pair or anyone else. ''If we took everyone who is controversial off the show, no one would perform,'' a Grammy official told E! Online.
Meanwhile, Variety reports, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board voted on Tuesday not to change its policy of keeping the Oscar show strictly live, but an Academy executive director Bruce Davis said that ABC would probably go ahead with a five-second delay anyway. ''The network has made it clear they're feeling enormous pressure to institute a delay,'' he said.
ABC's decision comes at a time when Congress is considering multiplying the fine for indecency tenfold, but the Academy is worried that the network's skittishness could lead to censorship of Oscar participants' sometimes politically controversial onstage remarks. ''We would be very concerned about a delay that would raise possibility of a network representative deciding that remarks like Michael Moore's last year would be inappropriate,'' Davis told Variety. ''We don't want that kind of censorship. The ability to edit out a single word or a body part is different; that's not the same kind of concern, although some would see it as the camel's nose moving into our tent.''