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Saturday, August 2, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sexually Explicit Show Moved To Later Time Slot

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Welcome to the late, late show, Mike Aivaz.

After fielding numerous complaints about Aivaz's public-access show on Channel 29, which includes people engaged in sexual acts, TCI Cable and the city of Seattle have exiled the show to the early-morning hours.

Following a request by the city's Executive Services Department, Aivaz's show can be aired only after 1 a.m. Previously, the show had been seen at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

"They didn't even offer me the option," Aivaz said. "It's ridiculous. All I'm doing is a making a show that makes people laugh."

But Deidre Finley, who drew attention to the show last week after stumbling across explicit sex scenes, doesn't see the humor. At the time, she was watching TV with her daughter, who was sleeping. If she can flip accidently to that sort of content, she worries one of her daughters might do the same.

Finley said she was relieved to have the show moved to the early-morning slot but said she wouldn't give up her efforts to have it - and content like it - banished from the channel entirely.

The channel is provided by TCI as a "free speech" channel, meaning that most content would be protected by the First Amendment. Accordingly, programming is much less restricted than on commercial television.

First Amendment protection should keep the show from being banned entirely, said Paul Lawrence, a lawyer with the Seattle firm Preston, Gates & Ellis, as long as programming continues to comply with current obscenity tests.

TCI also has taken steps to keep all "sexually explicit material" confined to time slots after 1 a.m. Before Aivaz's show stirred up the recent controversy, TCI only asked producers to determine whether their program was "not suitable for family viewing," and if so, the show was aired after 10 p.m.

Aivaz said he'll fight for his old time slot and thinks he has the constitutional right to do so.

Murray Whyte's phone message number is 206-515-5686. His e-mail address is: mwhy-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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