ABC bleeps bin Laden joke, but it airs in Canada

Thu May 5, 2011 5:32pm EDT

1 of 3. Movie director Kathryn Bigelow of the United States, winner of an Oscar as best director in 2010 for the 'Hurt Locker' speaks to reporters in Havana December 5, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Days after President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, an unlikely television series found itself in a bit of a bind.

ABC's comedy "Happy Endings" aired an episode Wednesday in which Zach Knighton's character compared an elusive mouse in Elisha Cuthbert's apartment to a "bin Laden."

During the airing in the U.S., Knighton told Cuthbert -- in discussing the hardships of trying to capture said mouse: "He's my bin Laden. ... Jessica bin Laden, a super hot Arab girl I went to college with." Then the audio cuts out, though Knighton's mouth is still moving.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that there was more to the joke, with the silenced line being, "She was the one that got away."

Given that the actual Osama bin Laden is no longer the one who got away, it's understandable why ABC cut the line, which was taped about two weeks ago. But it aired in its entirety on Canada's Citytv, suggesting ABC was mindful of the particular sensitivities U.S. audiences might have to a joke about the al Qaeda leader.

Video on ABC.com goes even further than simply bleeping the line. The scene in question has been altered, with the camera awkwardly cutting away immediately after Knighton finishes the line about college.

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)

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