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CBS Not Touched by Dogma Ads

Add CBS to the list of folks — incensed Catholics, conservative commentators, Michael Eisner — who aren't amused by Kevin Smith's controversial divine comedy Dogma.

The network's legal department has put the screws to Lions Gate, the film's distributor, according to reports from several sources. At issue are print and radio Dogma promos that encourage moviegoers to "get touched by an angel."

Get it? CBS does. And the network is determined to protect its lily-white Sunday night ratings sensation Touched by an Angel from such outrageous slander. (Attention stand-up comics, late night hosts, and talk radio DJs: Tear up those well-worn Angel routines now. You could be next.)

Lions Gate has reportedly promised to drop the offending slogan where possible, but will not attempt to recall the "thousands" of posters already in theaters on which it appears. Beginning today, the more banal — and less litigable — catchphrase "The No. 1 comedy in America" will be substituted for the "touched" wisecrack.

Lions Gate exec Tom Ortenberg tells Variety, "We thought, like everything else in Dogma, [the slogan] was cute and funny."

The new line will likely be safe to use for at least another couple of weeks. No new comedies — or at least no films likely to be deemed such by their marketers — are slated to open in wide release this weekend or next.