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'PJs' raise ratings and controversy

The new animated comedy from Eddie Murphy and Will Vinton Studios, The PJs, has been generating great ratings and some harsh words from the African-American community. A special Sunday night preview of the show on January 10 garnered an incredible 12.6/18 rating, the second-highest preview or premiere numbers in Fox history, topped only by the 12.7 from the January 1990 premiere of The Simpsons. Likewise, the show delivered strong numbers when it moved to its regular Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. timeslot with a 7.2 household rating, 26% better than King of the Hill's 5.7 and the best regular-series number Fox has ever had in the Tuesday 8:30 p.m. slot. However, it takes more than big Nielsen numbers to please some people. The portrayal of African-American people in this cartoon has raised serious concerns among many, most notably film director Spike Lee. Lee, who spoke recently at a television press tour in Pasadena to publicize a PBS show, called PJs hateful towards black people and very demeaning. Lee believes the series shows no love at all for black people. Last week, a number of LA grass-roots organizations spearheaded by the Project Islamic HOPE group planned an anti-PJs protest at Fox studios but the protest never took place. The respected National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has not taken a position on the show at this time, but its safe to say that as long as The PJs continues to deliver ratings for Fox, it wont be going anywhere soon.

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