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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED MARCH 24, 2004 11:25:38 ET XXXXX
'AMERICAN IDOL' PRODUCERS DEBATE SIMON 'ONE FINGER SALUTE'; FOX EXECUTIVES QUESTION ON-AIR GESTURE
The nation's top TV show is at the center of a fresh decency debate after AMERICAN IDOL judge Simon Cowell gestured a one finger salute during Tuesday night's broadcast from Hollywood.
The obscene gesture came during a heated exchange with fellow judge Paula Abdul. Cowell held his middle finger to his cheek as Abdul railed against comments made about a contestant.
The image came close to being cut, a top FOX executive tells the DRUDGE REPORT.
"We were not sure he was doing what he was doing, quite frankly," the source explained. "It appeared he was simply resting his head on his middle finger, but I now think we made a mistake, the gesture should not have aired."
The top FOX source says flipping the middle finger would not conform to the network's decency standards.
IDOL producers have asked Cowell to refrain from using the provocative pose in the future.
FOX airs IDOL with a slight broadcast delay live in eastern and central time zones.
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