Britney Spears (courtesy: Entertainment Tonight)

Reacting to pressure from Christian groups, NBC canceled an episode of “Will & Grace” that featured Britney Spears as a conservative who hosts a cooking segment called “Cruci-fixin’s” on a Christian TV network.

NBC last week was forced to pull its highly touted new show “The Book of Daniel” because of charges its portrayal of Jesus was blasphemous.

Spears was to appear as a sidekick to the regular character Jack, who hosts his own talk show on the homosexual network Out TV, which is bought by a Christian TV network. The episode was to air April 13, just before Good Friday.

The American Family Association said NBC canceled the segment after pressure from its affiliates and AFA.

But the network said its own description of the segment was a mistake.

In a memo to affiliates, NBC said “the information was mistakenly included in a press release describing an upcoming episode of ‘Will and Grace’ which, in fact, has yet to be written. The reference to ‘Cruci-fixins’ will not be in the show and the story line will not contain a Christian characterization at all.”

“NBC wanting us to believe they were mistaken in describing the segment, that they didn’t know what was in their own press release, just doesn’t hold water,” said AFA Chairman Donald E. Wildmon. “Plainly put, NBC heard from their affiliates that they did not want to go through another ‘Book of Daniel’ situation while losing millions in advertising avenue.”

The appearance by Spears was billed as “her first prime-time television episodic appearance.” However, she also appeared as herself in an episode of “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” in 1999 and was the star of last summer’s unscripted UPN show “Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.”

As a young girl, Spears, now 24, was a regular on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” After becoming a pop singer, she starred in the 2002 film “Crossroads.”

“Will & Grace” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern.


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NBC pulls the plug
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