ABC's popular medical drama Marcus Welby, MD aired a controversial episode on October 8, 1974 about a boy who was raped by his male teacher. Provocatively titled "The Outrage", the episode stirred up protests by gay rights groups (this was in the days before GLAAD) because it conflated homosexuality with child molestation. (Unfortunately, it remains a popular misconception today.)
A number of ABC affiliates refused to air the episode (including those in Philly and Boston). Fortunately, it aired in my hometown of Pittsburgh and it was a learning experience for me. I was a senior in high school at the time, unaware of my sexual orientation and quite naive as far as matters about sex was concerned, so the episode's subject was a real eye-opener. It was the first time I had heard about male-on-male rape. (And a number of years passed before I learned that gay men, even some heterosexual couples, willingly engaged in anal sex).
It was also fortuitous that Marcus Welby aired on Tuesday, which was my mother's bowling night. I doubt she would have let me watch this episode if she had been home. (Although my father was home he was usually in the kitchen or in the basement paying bills or doing paper work from his job.)
15 years later ABC found itself embroiled in another controversy, this time from conservative "family values" groups. They were up in arms because the network's acclaimed drama thirtysomething aired an episode titled "Strangers" that showed two gay men in bed together having a casual post-coital chat. As with "The Outrage" this episode was met with advertiser defections and it never aired in repeats.