The FCC has hit Young Sheldon with a massive fine for including a simulated version of a tornado warning in an episode. The Big Bang Theory spinoff is the latest in a series of shows to get called out for the stunt, and the fee is not insubstantial. If CBS cannot argue the case, it will have to pay $272,000 for the misstep.
The case stems from an episode of Young Sheldon that aired back in April. In it, producers apparently included a sound that was too similar to a real tornado warning for the FCC's liking.
"On April 12, 2018, CBS transmitted an episode of Young Sheldon via at least 227 television stations, including 15 of CBS's owned-and-operated television stations," said the FCC said in a press release, according to a report by Deadline. "The episode included a sound effect accompanying a tornado warning, which the producers modified, but still audibly resembled actual EAS tones."
The FCC noted that CBS and the show's producers should be aware of the guidelines for creating a fictional version of the tornado warning sound. In this case, they say theirs was simply not different enough from the real thing.
"The FCC found that CBS's modifications to the EAS tones did not make broadcasting such tones permissible because the audio elements used in the episode were substantially similar to the actual EAS tones," the statement said.
This is the fifth such fine the FCC has demanded in the last two months. The first three came in August, when the FCC claimed that ABC, AMC and Animal Planet had also mimicked the Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert system, creating the possibility of false panic.
Late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! got the biggest penalty so far — $395,000. Meanwhile, AMC was charged $104,000 for a similar issue on The Walking Dead. On Animal Planet, Lone Star Law was charged $68,000 for the same thing.
The fines are not even limited to TV, as the FCC hit a Los Angeles radio station company with the same charge last month. The company was reportedly charged $67,000 for false EAS sounds on two of its stations.
The FCC said that all four companies have committed to "a strict compliance plan to ensure such actions do not recur." Evidently, the regulator hopes CBS will do the same. However, it will have the chance to argue its case.
"CBS will be given an opportunity to respond and the FCC will consider their submission of evidence and legal arguments before acting further to resolve the matter," the statement said.