We have a reader who is looking for a DVD copy of the ABC television show "Nothing Sacred," a critically acclaimed program that ran for the 1997-1998 season. Anybody have ideas? Submit suggestions in the comment boxes below.
The Internet Movie Database describes the show: "Kevin Anderson plays Father Ray, a passionate priest/teacher who questions his calling, his existence, and his faith as he deals with the problems of the poor and the troubled."
A Jesuit priest, William P. Cain, was one of the screen writers.
The show, according to TVGuide.com, was about "a maverick priest in an urban parish [who] struggles with religious and secular pressures in a series that was both praised and panned for its frank handling of sensitive issues such as AIDS and abortion."
Back in 1997, our media critic, Jesuit Fr. Ray Schroth called the show: "an hourlong commercial for the Catholic church. For the Catholic church at its best, struggling to be the touch-point -- the sacrament -- the Christian must be between the Father God who has called us to minister and the "people of God," as the Vatican Council called them, reaching out to be touched."
Chicago priest/sociologist/novelist, Andrew Greeley, reportedly was a big fan.
After the show was up and running, then NCR editor Michael Farrell informed readers: "If you watch closely, you will see copies of NCR on the set of 'Nothing Sacred.' … They will be there as props, nothing more. Their presence is neither an endorsement of NCR by the show's producers, nor of the show by NCR. On the inevitable other hand, we of course believe the presence of NCR on any coffee table makes that place more relevant, more wholesome, more intriguing and above all more fun."
Bill Donahue of the Catholic League didn't like the show and urged Catholics to boycott ABC. According to news reports in the winter 1997-98 issues of NCR, the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper The Tidings and the U.S. bishops' conference media office both came to the defense of the program, but ABC must have been skittish. It moved the show from its original Thursday night slot to other days of the week until it landed in the graveyard slot called Saturday night.
ABC suspended the show in April 1998 right before the broadcast of an episode titled "HIV Priest." The show's contract wasn't renewed for the next season.
I hope you, Gentle Reader, have made it this far, because the best is yet to come.
With "Nothing Sacred" in suspension, how did ABC fill that time slot until the season ended in May? NCR reported at the time: "The network announced that a reprise of the 1970s series 'Fantasy Island' would take its place."