Members of the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee watched during a hearing Tuesday as a Mattel Inc. executive demonstrated a controversial new children's TV program that allows a viewer with a Mattel toy gun to play a video game with characters in the program. "You couldn't do this with adult programs; it wouldn't work," Rep. Al Swift (D-Wash.) told John Weems, Mattel's vice president of entertainment. Peggy Charren, head of Action for Children's Television, told the subcommittee that interactive programming makes the potential for exploitation even greater because toy manufacturers will be confusing children with advertising posing as programming. Committee chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and member Terry Bruce (D-Ill.) want to restore discarded Federal Communications Commission guidelines that limited commercial time to 9 1/2 minutes in every hour of children's weekend programming and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.
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