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‘Nothing Sacred’ Episode Withheld

January 10, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A ``Nothing Sacred″ episode involving a gay Catholic priest afflicted with AIDS is being withheld, a network decision that rankles the show’s producers.

The episode has not been scheduled to air, an ABC spokesman said Friday without elaborating.

``ABC’s decision to bury it was based on cowardice, cruelty and co-option of the religious right’s agenda,″ Richard Kramer _ a consulting producer who co-wrote the episode _ said Friday in the Los Angeles Times.

In the episode, Father Ray (series star Kevin Anderson) discovers that a fellow priest he knows to be secretly gay is ill with AIDS. Father Ray tries to persuade his despondent friend to stay in the priesthood.

Kramer wrote the script with Father Bill Cain, a Jesuit priest. The episode was filmed in July and had been intended to air as the show’s second hour, after the pilot.

David Manson, producer of the first-year series that has drawn critical acclaim as well as attacks from some Catholic groups, said the unaired episode is about religion rather than homosexuality.

``It’s not about this man’s sexual preferences but about the nature of tolerance and compassion and about trying to get a man who doesn’t feel worthy to come back to the table,″ he said.

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