CLEVELAND – A television news anchor appeared on the air nude in a first-person report about an artist's photographs, drawing a record number of viewers for the time slot, the station said.
Sharon Reed (search) was one of hundreds of people who participated in Spencer Tunick's (search) nude photo installation in Cleveland in June. Her report, which aired Monday on the 11 p.m. newscast on WOIO-TV, showed far away angles of her nude and some closer seminude shots, as well as other participants.
The station said Wednesday that the story on its Web site attracted nearly 1 million visitors. WOIO news director Steve Doerr said the story was aimed at bringing in ratings during November sweeps when audiences are measured to set advertising rates.
The report comes in the midst of increased attention to the airwaves, following Janet Jackson's breast-baring performance during the Super Bowl halftime show. The Federal Communications Commission (search) proposed a record fine of $550,000 against CBS, WOIO's parent network. The network is protesting.
On Tuesday, ABC apologized for the intro to "Monday Night Football" that featured a supposedly naked actress jumping into a player's arms in a spoof of the television show "Desperate Housewives."
Doerr said the idea was to cover Tunick, a well-known artist, in a different way, and he said the response has been generally positive. Reed said she was praised for "standing up" for what she believed, but also was ridiculed for jeopardizing TV news standards.
Monday night's newscast received a record 17.1 share, compared with the 13.6 earned during the newscast airing immediately after this year's Super Bowl, according to Broadcasting & Cable, an industry publication.
The station aired advisories before the piece, and FCC spokeswoman Janice Wise on Wednesday said WOIO followed commission rules that prohibit indecent material from being aired on broadcast television from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.