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Controversial South Park Episode Nets Big Ratings in NZ

A SOUTH PARK episode, featuring a menstruating statue of the Virgin Mary that has drawn protests and outrage from Catholic and Muslim groups in New Zealand, scored six times the normal ratings on Feb. 22, 2006, reports THE ADVERTISER.

The "Bloody Mary" episode, which aired on C4 youth channel, was slotted to run in May, but was moved to up four months to avoid a lengthy amount of time for additional protests. C4 is run by TV Works, a subsidiary of Canadian-owned Canwest International.

The screening attracted 210,000 viewers, more than six times the usual audience.

Hundreds of protesters prayed round a statue of the Virgin Mary in the northern city of Auckland on Wednesday night as the TV network broadcast the episode, which air in the U.S. once, but did not rerun after a Catholic group lead a protest.

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