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Porn Video Is Recipe for Trouble on Cooking Show

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

TV cooking has never been so hot.

Viewers who tuned in to a popular cooking show Wednesday evening got a taste of something quite different: A hard-core pornography video appearing briefly on the screen as the two chefs narrated directions for Latin risotto.

At about 9:35 p.m., those watching “Too Hot Tamales” on the TV Food Network described seeing a flash of prurient programming lasting about three seconds, followed by a blank screen, then more than a minute of the pornographic material before the normal broadcast resumed. The footage aired across the nation.

“We were stunned and dismayed,” the show’s hostesses, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, said in a statement Thursday. “We have a broad viewing audience that we really care about and we hate to think of the shock or embarrassment this may have caused any of our viewers.”

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The cause of the unscheduled interruption was under investigation, a network executive said.

Local viewers wasted no time letting local cable stations know how they felt.

At the TV Food Network’s advertising and sales office in West Hollywood, junior account executive Brian Coolidge said he had fielded more than 50 phone calls from viewers and described the situation as “chaos.”

Feniger and Milliken, who own the Border Grill in Santa Monica, first heard about the snafu Thursday morning when TV Food Network President and Chief Executive Officer Erica Gruen phoned their homes, a spokeswoman said.

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Gruen said in a statement that only 10 seconds of “uncleared and inappropriate footage” appeared.

“This was absolutely unintentional on the part of the network,” Gruen said. “Although we are investigating the cause of the disturbance, including the possibility of tampering, our first and most important effort is taking all steps necessary to ensure this never happens again.

“We sincerely apologize to our viewers for this serious breach.”


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