7th Heaven Reruns Are Back, Despite Stephen Collins Scandal

Photo: Rex USA.
Why let a horrific case of child molestation get in the way of solid TV ratings? Though 7th Heaven reruns were initially pulled last October when news emerged that star Stephen Collins had confessed to molesting young girls, the CW show is now back in syndication. The question is, why?

Reruns are now airing on Up, which first stopping running the program in October. In December, the show returned, only to be yanked once again due to complaints. And yet, Reverend Eric Camden lives to see another day.

"When we first took it off [the air in October], I think we were just kind of watching what was happening, as everybody was, [and] learning what was going on, and we were trying to really pay attention to what our viewers were telling us along the way," Up's executive vice president and general manager Amy Winter told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday, during the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.

"We put it on again right before the holiday season, just to test the waters and see what the reaction would be, and it was positive, but people weren't coming back to it in the way that we had hoped," she added, neglecting to address any negative feedback the network received post-scandal.

According to Winter, viewers were requesting to bring the family drama, which co-starred Jessica Biel.

"We also did some research and found that everybody was like, 'You know what? This is a great family show. It shouldn’t suffer. I would like to watch it. I'd like to watch it with my family. I can get over it.' And that actually resonated," Winter continued.

"Some people are like, 'Listen, why do you have this guy on the air?'" she added. "But we try to respond to them and say, 'Listen, we hear your feedback, and we're sorry that you feel that way, but overwhelmingly, the majority of people do want to see this show.'"

Winter also noted that ratings were doing "really well" since the show returned in June. That's disappointing to hear. The show may have had some value before Collins' crimes were revealed, but by continuing to watch, viewers are offering him their passive support. Look at The Cosby Show, which has also been pulled off the air. It was once a beloved series, but Cosby has ruined it. Sadly, we can't watch it again and laugh about Theo's pierced ear or see him dancing on the stairs without considering what was going on behind the scenes, and what the show's legacy enabled.

Winter says viewers can "get over it." Unfortunately, Collins' victims can't.

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