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Oklahoma pulls the plug on Shame TV

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start quoteIt was almost a promotional thing for them. It wasn't a deterrent at all.end quote
-- Marsha Ingersoll, Oklahoma City spokeswoman

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (Reuters) -- The real shame of Shame TV was the ratings.

Shame television is off the air in Oklahoma after the channel aimed at humiliating men who frequented prostitutes ended up providing free advertising for city street walkers but gaining few viewers.

Oklahoma City officials this week pulled the plug on a city-run television channel used to show pictures of prostitutes and their customers. They said the channel did not deter prostitution.

"There were more females than males, and we kept seeing a lot of the same people," said Oklahoma City spokeswoman Marsha Ingersoll.

The channel dubbed "John TV" aired mugshots of women arrested for prostitution and the men who consorted with them.

It was launched in 1999 with the intention of frightening people not to engage in prostitution out of the threat that their face would be splattered across the airwaves.

The scrolling and repeating mug shots of disheveled streetwalkers helped would-be customers identify prostitutes, the spokeswoman said. "It was almost a promotional thing for them. It wasn't a deterrent at all," Ingersoll said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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