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CBS: The Sorry Network

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- CBS television issued a new round of apologies, this time for any offense taken at the American Indian-motif Grammy Awards performance by the hip-hop group OutKast that some Native Americans have condemned as racist.

A little more than two weeks ago, CBS came under fire from the FCC for the breast-baring Super Bowl halftime performance by Janet Jackson on the Viacom Inc.-owned network.

Stung by this spate of ongoing embarrassments, CBS President Les Moonves and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone appeared at a press conference in New York Monday to pre-emptively apologize for other recent and future gaffes that have occurred on CBS and other Viacom-owned properties.

The duo kicked off the press conference by apologizing for the violent storylines and graphic adult themes appearing on the top-rated CSI this year. "We realize families may feel as though it's unsafe for children to watch," Moonves conceded. "But you have to understand the CSI producers are plumb out of ideas. So you can see why we've been using sex and violence as a crutch."

As for CSI Miami, Moonves offered no apologies for that show's content "other than David Caruso." And Redstone apologized for the upcoming CSI: New York spinoff. "You would think an industry whose well-being rests entirely on its creative prowess could do better than just repeating the same show over and over again," Redstone said. "But you'd be wrong."

Moonves spent several minutes apologizing profusely for the CBS comedy Yes, Dear. "We figured something this unfunny would be a six-episodes-and-out thing," Moonves said. "Then again, nobody's holding a gun to your head and making you watch, are they?"

Moonves then read from a prepared text, apologizing to anyone offended by the following: having Jon Cryer host The People's Choice Awards; wasting the talents of Andre Braugher on Hack; reviving Aresenio Hall's career; the hairdo of "that chick on Cold Case;" most of the network's sitcoms, Judging Amy; and "whenever Dan Rather says something creepy and unsettling."

"Also, we'd like to apologize for Survivor," Moonves said. "Not that it's a bad show, but that it's spawned so many rotten imitators."

"Like Big Brother," chirped Redstone. "Oh... that's one of ours. Crap."

Turning their attention to Viacom's cable music channels, Moonves and Redstone apologized on behalf of VH-1 for bringing the 1980s back. "The deficit... the unrepentant greed... the terrible hair... I don't know what we were thinking," Redstone muttered.

"And Jessica Simpson," added Moonves, referring to the star of the reality series Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica. "We thought it would be a laugh, putting this dimwitted woman on camera and having her say stupid things. Now it seems all of us are stuck with her."

"This has backfired worse than The Osbournes," Redstone agreed, on the verge of tears.

Both executives spent a half-hour of the two-hour press event apologizing for The Real World, in particular "unleashing 14 years worth of self-entitled drama queens onto the cultural landscape," Moonves said. To make amends, Viacom plans to round up all Real World alumni and have them live on a 50-acre compound in North Dakota.

"Needless to say, cameras won't be allowed within a 50-mile radius," Moonves said.

Pressed by reporters as to whether the reality show cast members will be allowed to breed, Moonves said, "We don't want to resort to eugenics just yet, but we are in touch with Bob Barker's people about the merits of spaying and neutering."

Additional contributions to this article by: Philip Michaels, Lisa Schmeiser.


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