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FAQs TV Ratings

1. What are TV Ratings?
2. Do ratings exist that are specifically designed for children?

3. Are all TV programs rated?

4. Are movies that air on TV rated?

5. Who decides how a program is rated?

6. How is the rating displayed on TV?

7. Does a program carry the same rating week after week?

8. Are commercials rated? Can commercials be blocked?

1. The TV Ratings, also called the TV Parental Guidelines, provide information about the content and age-appropriateness of TB programs. The TV Parental Guidelines include two elements:  an age-based rating that provides guidance about the age group for which a program is appropriate, and content descriptors indicating that a program may cotain suggestive dialogue (D), coarse or crude language (L), sexual situations (S), or violence (V).

2. Yes. Children's programming is rated according to two categories: TV-Y and TV-Y7. A TV-Y rating means that programming is appropriate for children of all ages. TV-Y7 indicates that programming is designed for children ages 7 and older. An additional rating, TV-Y7-FV is used to indicate that a program contains "fantasy violence" that may be more intense or combative than other TV-Y7 programs.

3. The Guidelines apply to most television programs. However, news and sports are exempt from the TV ratings system. In addition, some categories of programming, such as religious and home shopping programs, do not typically carry a rating.

4. Made-for-TV movies are rated using the TV Parental Guidelines. Theatrical movies are typically edited when they air on broadcast or basic cable channels. The broadcast or cable network cuts content from the movie according to the channel's standards. After the movie has been modified, it is given a TV Parental Guideline rating. Premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime run uncut theatrical movies. These movies carry the original MPAA movie rating, in addition to supplemental content advisories provided by the network.

5. Programs are voluntarily rated by broadcast and cable television networks, or program producers.

6. A rating icon appears in the upper left corner of the TV screen during the first 15 seconds of the program. If the program is more than one hour, the icon will reappear at the beginning of the second hour. Many broadcast and cable television networks also display the rating after each commercial break.

7. Programs are rated by episode and, therefore, may carry a different rating based on the content.

8. Television advertising is not rated, and therefore cannot be blocked.