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UPN Sitcom Pilot Will Be Delayed

September 30, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Viewers tuning in to UPN to watch the Civil War sitcom ``The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer″ won’t see its pilot, which includes a joke about slavery.

In response to criticism, UPN will delay broadcast of the pilot and will air the second episode in its place.

``We have a duty as responsible broadcasters to take their (critics’) concerns under advisement,″ UPN spokeswoman Patti McTeague said Tuesday. The pilot is under review, she said.

The show, described by UPN as a satire of contemporary politics, is to make its debut Monday.

Chi McBride stars as a black English nobleman who winds up as a servant and adviser to Abraham Lincoln. In the first episode, the title character is relaxing in the kitchen when he is told: ``The slaves haven’t been emancipated yet, Pfeiffer. Get your feet off that table.″

Black activists have condemned the show. Pastor Ron Wright of the Emmanuel AME Church said it ``desensitizes the pain and devastating suffering of slavery.″

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