AFN to air ‘The Pacific’ late at night
Check out photos and video from the premiere of "The Pacific" at the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC.
NAPLES, Italy — American Forces Network viewers eagerly awaiting the beginning of Tom Hanks’ and Steven Spielberg’s new miniseries "The Pacific," better put on a pot of coffee.
The HBO series, which starts this weekend, is slated to air on AFN at 11 p.m. in Europe and the Pacific. For viewers in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas in Middle East time zones, the hourlong episodes won’t air until 1 a.m.
"We’re showing this late because of the content," said Larry Sichter, spokesman for the AFN Broadcast Center. "It has [a mature] rating; it’s a lot stronger than what AFN normally airs."
Programs that carry a mature rating are geared toward adult viewers and may include crude language, explicit sexual content and graphic violence, according to television industry guidelines.
The network wanted to make sure it’s not on when children would normally watch, he said.
While there are no children watching downrange, Sichter said the network doesn’t have the capability to air programs solely for a single time zone. For example, programs aired on the Spectrum channel in Europe are simultaneously broadcast in the Middle East.
"The Pacific" was provided to AFN by the producers on the condition that it would be shown unedited, Sichter said.
Spielberg and Hanks also produced "Band of Brothers," which is based on the war in Europe, and worked together on "Saving Private Ryan."
"The producers insisted on accurately portraying the brutality of the Pacific war, Spielberg said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We want the viewing public to be prepared that there is a level of savagery in ‘The Pacific’ that is more intense than in ‘Band of Brothers.’
"Anything less than the graphic nature of that war, or for that matter any war, would have been met by scorn by the veterans who fought in it," he said. "It would have just been one more Hollywoodized portrayal of an event that rends your body ... and often doesn’t create even a memory of your existence. That’s war, that’s what happens."
The 10-part epic, based on U.S. Marines who fought at Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Okinawa, began airing on HBO in the U.S. last Sunday. Although it carries a Mature Audience rating, it airs during the 9 p.m. time slot in the U.S.
The late-night showing in Europe hasn’t dissuaded some military members overseas from planning to watch.
"Ten would be better, but 11 isn’t too late," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jorge Delgado, a Naples-based sailor. "I’m looking forward to it.
"I loved ‘Band of Brothers,’ and I’ve heard this is supposed to be really good."