The steamy world of porn, a teenage three-way in a hot tub, and disturbing views of implant surgery - welcome to the new face of primetime TV, pushing the limits like never before. With FOX’s "Skin" and "The O.C." and FX’s "Nip/Tuck," network executives are being bold.
TV Guide's Mark Schwed says, "They feel they have to do this every year because they want to get people's attention and the best way to do that is go over the line."
Schwed says edgy cable hits like HBO’s "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" influenced the move to stronger material.
"Nip/Tuck" is so raw, it may make plastic surgery candidates think twice. Schwed says, "There's pain, it's ugly, it's disgusting, it's dangerous, and ‘Nip/Tuck’ shows that."
Adding to those three is NBC's "Coupling," which is about sex even more than "Friends." According to NBC's Entertainment President Jeff Zucker, it's all about being racy and he thinks audiences are ready. He says, "I think the rules have changed in TV in the last 10 years."
Whether it's drugs, sex, or plastic surgery, the networks are hoping breaking down barriers will give them a breakthrough in the ratings.