NBC's Nashville affiliate has closed "The Book of Daniel" after the show, whose main character is a pill-popping Episcopal priest with a gay son and a pot-dealing daughter, drew thousands of complaints.

WSMV-TV General Manager Elden Hale Jr. said he decided to pull the show starring Aidan Quinn after NBC rejected the station's request to air it overnight instead of during "family viewing time."

Despite its third-place finish nationally, the show won its time slot last Friday in the Nashville TV market.

Hale said viewers objected to the language, the sexual content and the portrayal of Jesus, who appears to Quinn's character for regular chats.

WSMV's general voice mailbox shut down within 20 hours of the airing of the two-hour premiere last Friday because 137 complaint messages jammed the machine, WSMV officials said. There also were complaints via e-mail and regular mail, including letters bearing church letterheads.

"Over the years, other shows have generated as much or more reaction, but this wasn't a cut-and-paste reaction where a national group says, 'Please send an e-mail to your station' and every e-mail is the same," Hale said. "These were individually crafted, considered, well-thought, well-reasoned e-mails and phone calls."

NBC defended the show Thursday, issuing this statement: "The Book of Daniel is a quality fictional drama about an Episcopalian priest's family and the contemporary issues with which they must grapple. We're confident that our viewers can appreciate this creative depiction of one American family and will understand it to be an entertaining work of fiction."

WSMV is one of nine NBC affiliates, most of them in the South, that have decided not to air "The Book of Daniel." In three of those markets — Little Rock, Ark., Amarillo, Texas, and Terre Haute, Ind. — non-NBC stations have agreed to air the show. It isn't clear if NBC is shopping it to another Nashville station.