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The Time Young Sheldon Was Faced With A Big $272,000 Fine From The FCC

It's not at all a controversial statement to say that the "Big Bang Theory"-changing "Young Sheldon" is far from the most risqué series on television. While it may cover serious and occasionally mature subject matter at times, it doesn't push the boundaries of what can be shown on TV by any stretch. Nevertheless, it has found itself in trouble with the FCC — the Federal Communications Commission — before. The FCC even attempted to slap the show with a whopping $272,000 fine for quite an unexpected reason when it was all said and done.

As reported by Deadline in September 2019, the FCC planned to hit "Young Sheldon" with that massive fine for misuse of the Emergency Alert System tone. It occurred in the Season 1 episode titled "A Mother, A Child, and a Blue Man's Backside," and despite the efforts of those behind the episode, the audio alterations they applied weren't enough to meet the FCC's guidelines. The FCC offered CBS the opportunity to respond to the proposed fine, and in response, it would review the appeal and determine whether or not legal action would be necessary.

It's easy to see where the FCC was coming from with the concern. The "Young Sheldon" team shouldn't have used the actual EAS tone. To make the situation even more absurd, its inclusion isn't even accurate to the time period the episode is set in.

Young Sheldon's use of the EAS tone is historically inaccurate

As one could imagine, once the news broke that "Young Sheldon" could be hit with a near-$300,000 fine, fans of the "Big Bang Theory" prequel took to the internet to discuss it. That conversation would endure for years after the FCC took legal action against the series, as evidenced by a Reddit thread by u/Super_Description169 posted in 2022. In this online discussion, one Redditor by the name of u/Squad0x33 would bring up the point that the inclusion of the EAS in the Season 1 episode was historically inaccurate.

"The modern EAS wasn't launched until 1997, well after this episode's circa 1989 setting, making the EAS and accompanying tones an anachronism at this point in the show," they wrote in their comment, explaining that the Emergency Broadcast System was actually in place at the time. With that knowledge in mind, this entire situation becomes even more baffling. Had the "Young Sheldon" team gone for historical accuracy, they would've not only avoided a timeline discrepancy but a skirmish with the FCC as well.

At the end of the day, "Young Sheldon" isn't the first show to end up in the FCC's crosshairs for this exact reason, and it's a safe bet that it won't be the last.