This Term, the Supreme Court is considering a case — FCC v. Fox Television Stations — on precisely this subject.
[In] March 2004, [the FCC] said, even a single use of “the F-Word” on the air would be treated as illegal....Ha ha. The Golden Globes! And now here, tonight, we had the Golden Globes on a tape delay with the "oh, fuck!" removed. So it's not that hard for the broadcaster to protect us from the careless, casual speech of celebrities. I wonder which Supreme Court Justices were watching? Probably just Kennedy.
The agency changed its approach after getting complaints about two broadcasts on Fox television of the Billboard Music Awards – the show in 2002 when singer-actress Cher used “the F-Word,” and the show in 2003 when actress Nicole Richie used variations of that word and used the four-letter excrement word – and a broadcast on NBC-TV in 2003 of the Golden Globe Awards, when rock singer Bono used a variation of “the F-Word.”