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ABC halts promotion of hurricane TV drama

‘Invasion’ features a family dealing with a fictional hurricane
/ Source: Reuters

Citing sensitivity over the real-life disaster unfolding on the Gulf Coast, ABC has pulled on-air promotions for an upcoming drama series about a family coping with a fictional hurricane and its mysterious aftermath.

ABC executives decided that hurricane references in promotions for “Invasion,” set to premiere on Sept. 21, might be upsetting or offensive to viewers in light of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, a network spokesman said Thursday.

“The promos were pulled for sensitivity reasons. The plan is to put them back on when it feels appropriate to do so,” the network spokesman said.

He said delaying launch of the show was still possible but for now ABC plans to debut the series as scheduled this month.

The series opens with a powerful hurricane that hits the town of Homestead, Florida, ushering in a series of unexplained phenomenon that suggest the storm may have been a smokescreen for some type of alien invasion.

Homestead was the real-life community leveled in August 1992 by Hurricane Andrew, which before Katrina ranked as the most costly disaster in U.S. history.

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“As with anything as serious as this, we are taking great efforts to assess sensitivities with regard to our series,” ABC said in a statement. “We are currently looking at all our programming and marketing efforts with this in mind. Our changes and adjustments are ongoing.”

ABC’s “Invasion” was not the only TV show affected by Katrina. Filming in New Orleans of the CBS TV movie “Vampire Bats,” starring Lucy Lawless, was halted by the storm, as was production of the Michael Keaton film comedy “The Last Time,” according to Hollywood trade publications.

Likewise, cast members and crew for the supernatural film ”The Reaping,” starring Hilary Swank, were evacuated from Baton Rouge to Austin, Texas on Sunday.

Producers of the Fox TV talent competition “American Idol” canceled auditions scheduled for Sept. 5 in Memphis, Tennessee, which has become a staging area for disaster relief efforts.