TV 1927-Early 2000's


FCC Created


The Milton Berle Show


Milton Berle show encouraged people to buy TV sets... Shakespeare Plays aired often... then came I Love Lucy... This was termed "the golden age of television" late 40s early 50s

Anthology Drama Booming

1947 - 1952

The anthology drama originated in NY in the NY stage... this was the adaption of plays aired weekly on TV... this is when tv was based in NY... "teletheater" helped gain tv traction... around in the 40s and 50s.. then they DIED because tv moved to HOLLYWOOD leading to the emergence of original series

Golden Age of Anthologies

1947 - 1955

this period television aired theater based weekly shows.... studio one- etc were very popular at this time... then early 50s consistent characters took over with I love lucy ... dramas copshows etc introduced but faded .. end of golden age 1955

First TV sets


Rise of Cable


allowed for programming to target smaller audiences... encouraged the production of quality dramas from broadcasters in order to compete with cable

People stopped watching as many movies... sitcoms became less popular leaving space for a new genre to emerge

Noncommercial TV


Andy Griffith Show & Bev Hillbillies


Shows resembling rural america was successful at the time... CBS President at the time was James Aubrey

Short Lived Drama Golden Age

1960 - 1964

Time of the short lived drama beginning with The Defenders)....The dick van dyke show...came out bringing a new frontier of sitcoms... the 60s further developed consistent set of characters as a dominant form... around the mid 60s soap operas became popular again...--- rural sitcoms were created like Beverly hillbillies

Fyn-Syn Rules


Implemented by the FCC in 1970 as a way to put more players into the production process limiting amount of prime time programming broadcasters could produce themselves and hold financial interest in.

70s Golden Age

1970 - 1979

early 70s- memorable tv lineup including MASH, mary tyler moore show... All in the Family. people and critics LOVED the programming...(sitcom at its peak)... Dallas came out developing the continuous story lines and character dynmaics.. and female leads emerged....Charlies Angels


1970 - 1996

Hosted by Phil Donahue, Live audience controversial topics, liberal views but played devils advocate- "famous spring break episode"- showed a condom on the screen

All in the Family, Three's Company, Happy Days


"Escapist Shows"- no artistic aspirations ... also Charlie's Angels (All in the family was urban oriented and conversational differing from rural America shows)

All in the family was a provocative new show that dealt with new issues on television- one of the most influential shows of all time

HBO Launch


created by Time-Life... began with a small audience 365 subscribers and only a few systems on the east coast.. began as a movie channel airing films... mid 1970s they gained traction and began to distribute across the US and developed original programming


1972 - 1983

Finale was very important because they switched genres from sitcom to movie drama... biggest ratings success of a finale since dallas... AfterMash tanked (had no popular characters and no drama)

Showtime Launch




Chips was not conversational... wasnt well written.. over the top plots.. silly humor.. no controversial issues.. very light comedies

Use of freeze frames, simple directing

Dallas Premieres on CBS


First show to have a cliffhanger- "who shot JR".. Show about wealthy landowners in texas.. BREAKTHROUGH because it had continuous story lines week to week referred to as "serialization" HUGE HIT

Diff'rent Stokes


not conversational... wasnt as well written.. over the top plots.. silly humor.. no controversial issues.. very light comedies

about 2 young african american boys from harlem who move in with a rich man in NYC



ESPN Launch


C-SPAN Launch


Nickelodeon Launch


Iranian Hostage Crisis


Era of Cultural Malaise... Jimmy Carter is President.. Reagan elected in November 1980.. this set the tone for the 80s

80s Golden Age-Quality TV

1980 - 1989

Dramatic change from 70s- intricate writing, cliffhangers began with WHO shot JR- Dallas... Also in the early 80s-Hill Street Blues began, then St. Elsewhere (very controversial issues)... Miami Vice in the mid 80s...Brought new types of programming and this coined the term quality tv... developed storylines and killed off characters

Hill Street Blues


on NBC- Steve Bocho Created it.. Serialized cop show... New aesthetic territory:

-complex directing and dialogue
-interesting shot composition
-played around with curse words
-dealt with controversial issues like rape and homosexuality

-initial low ratings bc of its complexity... won many emmys

Lead is Captain Frank Furillo reflected diversity of force... steamy affiar.. strong core cast.. realistic story linies and overlapping dialogue

Ronald Reagan Shot


"breaking news" on television news holding phones to release info as it comes in

Cagney and Lacey & Magnum P.I.


Aired on CBS- Cagney was the most innovative had its own unique point of view.

Entertainment Tonight and Dynasty


Dynasty was all about style ...two women entwined in a series of bitter confrontations

CNN Launches


Challenger Explodes

NBC, CBS, ABC Still Dominated Television


MTV Launches


First songs airing- Video Killed the Radio Star, Pat Benetar "you better run", and Phil Collins in the air start showed music videos 24 hours a day

Royal Wedding

June, 1981

Billions of viewers, Barbara Walters reports

St. Elsewhere


Aired on NBC Produced by same company as Hill St. MTM
NBC developed "art television"-- the serialization of tv allowed for more dramatic art and character development

Takes place in a hospital- known for killing off many characters including central ones.. unusual for shows at the time.. explored the notion of god.. added layers of storytelling- subtext metaphors culinary metaphors (condiment dialogue in cafeteria_// references to masturbation- broke barriers for tv of its time--- literary dialogue "Dr. Craig- Peppered with Pain"... rhythmic writing

known for intertextuality refers to it has text inside text:
-"cut my own meat"-masturbation reference
"i can't Ketchup" catchup
"referred to other literary texts or series and actually them themselves... also reference old tv shows (talk about NBC and brought back characters from bewitched



Quality sitcom took place in a bar.. developed relationships and storylines

Invention of VCR


Jane fonda workout videos, porn, richard simmons workout videos.. created mostly for films at first.. made it possible to record shows

A Team, Cheers, Cosby Show


NBC's shows helped by execs Tinker and Tartikoff in the early 80s

Paper Chase Showtime


First bigger series giving showtime a chance to show off and show what premium cable can do... didnt air them each week but took three years to present 36 new episodes treating each one like mini movies... attracted subscribers



another sitcom inspired the style of cheers

NBC News Overnight Launched


they ventured into late late news... remarkable and elegant in execution was cost effective after that cbs and abc launched late late news as well news began to grow



started on daytime- moved to late night.. a 1986 episode had color commentary from stars of dallas and dynasty.. he played around with camera angles aesthetics turned one epi 260.. one reversed image.. one sped up show and added extra bit in the end

The Day After


TV movie about the nuclear destruction of the world... very topical issue during the cold war... warning disclaimer before it.. real danger it presented and reagan was influenced by it

Dr. Ruth


Old lady sex therapist very candid.. her accent and small stature made it less intimidating.. german accent

SNL, Bill Murray, Letterman


Miami Vice

1984 - 1989

Daring and interesting... used new style of adding music in: in the air tonight... Michael Mann was a filmmaker and became producer of the show...Color was important aspect of Miami VIce (Pink and Blue color scheme) first show to utilize color schemes... First stereo broadcast sound quality wasn't important till now

TV Fundraisers


BBC news report about starving people in Africa prompted US and UK to record songs to raisemoney
UK recorded "Do they know its christmas" aired on MTV
in US. recorded we are the world
16 hours of tv on abc and mtv huge concert

Moonlighting created by Glenn Caron


Quality innovative drama on par with Hill Street Blues... Bruce Wilis... Blue Moon detective agency with romantic story line.. post modernist style.. dialogue referred to the show itself... created by glenn caron (a perfectionist- delievered the show to the network late.. long long scripts because characters talk over eachother and fast.. never delivered a full season----- Ambitiious style musical episode one episode inside Maddie's uterus .. Episode Taming of the Shrew places characters in Shakespearean times utilized Elizabethan dialogue- Iambic Pentameter but incorporated modern language

Fox Created


Not an official network at first- partial programming...... fox emerged trying to establish a different style... first show was the Late Show with Joan Rivers...her show embodied the style of fox bc it was different than the other networks...joan was loud gossipy etc... fox style also primered shows stretched out across a month and repreated shows over and over...

Challenger explosion


CNN only one to cover it live...

Married...With Children


Family sitcom changed to become nontraditional.... innovation from new network- FOX with this show.... about a dysfunctional family who hates eachother... fox made a point to air content that was different from what other networks were airing at the time... obscene content for the 80s... became a hit due to controversy....



Centered around advertising executive Michael who orgininally wanted to be an author--- themes of "growing up late" ... show brought criticism from those who felt it was about people whining.. show rooted in truth and characters dealt with relatable problems.. FIRST SHOW ABOUT NOTHING.. before seinfeld.. influenced by commercials and clothing.. did not have very high ratings



Hosted by Geraldo.. similar talk show style.. controversial topics.. one episode featured white supremacists show ended in a brawl with geraldo getting nose broken.. he always held babies



Centered around the lives of a working class family...high amount of detail..

Murphy Brown


Sitcom starring Candice Bergen as Murphy Brown, a news anchor for a 60 Minutes type newsmagazine show--- In 1992, George Bush is running for reelection and sends his running mate Dan Quayle to discuss family values-----He blamed Murphy Brown for the destruction of family values, because on the show she gets pregnant and chooses not to get married.... Calls her decision to be a single mother a “lifestyle choice” and denounces it
• It almost seemed like he thought the show was real
• Became a huge media story

Following the Quayle incident, Murphy Brown fired back with a response episode...... They took real headlines from the news and real news footage to make it look as though Quayle was attacking the real Murphy Brown from the show



Was cancelled after one season then revived for first run syndication.....symbol of AMERICAN EXPORTS- hugely successful internationally.... Pamela Anderson- boys american dream..... Simple directing



Moved NBC to first place... it is artistically important and led the way for sitcoms ... SHOW about NOTHING... catchprahses and innuendo- "Master of your domain (classic episode about masturbation") "Not that there's anything wrong with that" in reference to homosexuality----- these innuendos were convenient for political correctness

Soviet Union Collapses along with Berlin Wall


Cop Rock


on ABC...Show created by Hill Street Blues creator Stephen Bochco....Musical cop show....The show plays straight as a cop show, with random musical numbers inserted in.....Hated by both critics and fans....Court room gospel song/ Jury becomes a gospel choir....Influenced other series to do a single musical episode

o Offered four or 5 original songs per episode—not random but integrating elements of the storyline
o Police Drama set in LA
o Twist of episodes is one or more characters break into song

Flaws with Cop Rock:
• Unfamiliar originals… didn’t repeat songs
o ABC quickly cancelled the series
• Though it was cancelled it reflected respect for Bocho’s efforts…

Twin Peaks


Created by David Lynch/ writer Mark Frost... on ABC....The quality TV era takes a shift into traditional content after the end of Twin Peaks

Started the trend where viewers pick up subtle clues about the show..

About the Show:
-Slow opening, mixed genres! 1)murder 2)mystery 3)comedy 4)scifi fantasy
-Main character agent cooper who murdered laura palmer

Twin Peaks is the magnum opus of post modernism
mystifying symbolism owl, giant, stoplight
mixed genres
lots of weird characters
poetic language

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


Sitcom starring will smith as a fictionalized version of himself... show aired an episode in reaction to the rodney king riots made it a sitcomization of the situation... the show was created by white people ... seemed to refer to the riots without actuallly talking about them....

oWill Smith only credible youthful personality on prime time
This season NBC emerged on top but a close race....This successful win gave a send off to Brandon Tartikoff who left to become head of paramount movie studios

Northern Exposure


“twin peaks for beginners” success and sustained for over 100 epi’s because of its spirituality and inclusion of the sacred was rare for prime time
-Very similar to twin peaks. Similar scenery, weird characters etc (as developed before twin peaks)

-CBS came up with a deal to sell half of its commercial lots in exchange for partial ownership with Procter and Gamble
-Consistent with what Grant Tinker suggested about the future of quality lying in corporate sponsored programming



•Fox moved the Simpsons to Thursday night opposite The Cosby Show
•Cartoon images of the Simpsons were positioned with Bill Cosby to promote the show
•Their strategy worked.. appealed to younger demographics with Living Color and the Simpsons
oBoth prime advertising targets for young viewers

TV about teenagers


TV about teenagers that had teenage characters emerged.... welcome back, kotter- Fame, and the Wonder Years... adolescent shows... Bev Hills 90210... 21 Jump Street, Simpsons

Professional Wrestling


Most successful stable of cable in the 1990s
-Mick Foley and the Rock
Hulk was in the 80s

In Living Color


Wayans Family- Flipside of the cosby show-- humor based on language and culture of the community BIG hit for Fox..due to foxs hip urban demo



Covered the late 1940s history … giddy post WW2 America Young Indiana, history adventure

End of network television dramas


Hour long shows don't do as well in syndicated rerun market as half hour comedies- imp because production companies make their money in syndication .. lose it in the making of shows

Dramas were much riskier no guarantee on returns

Quality shows are hard to syndicate in general (must watch in the proper sequence)

Cable opened up more venues for syndication
•Quality drama hit its lowest point in 1992 when Reagan-bush era ended they were hugely popular in the republican regime
•Return of the Democrats in 1993 put pressure on quality drama creation

Brooklyn Bridge


producer Gary David Golderg (of Family ties fame) infused the series with memories of growing up Jewish in Brooklyn in the 1950s

I’ll Fly Away


from the Northern Exposure team- Joshua Brand and John Falsey

Attempted to put characters faces to images of 1950s history

Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill


1991-92 Season H.Bush’s nomination of Clarence Thomas.. extensive coverage of Anita Hill

Gulf War Begins


Bush plans to invade Iraq because Iraq invaded Kuwait an ally to the U.S. potential for a third world war

Beating of Rodney King

March 1991

Video depicted a group of LAPD officers brutally beating a black man.. one of the most analyzed pieces of video in history... raised questions about the relationship between law enforcement and citizens esp. racism in the LAPD....

Thomas Anita Hearings

October 1991

Anita hill accuses him of sexual harassment.. he denies it... both gave believeable stories.... showed the evolution of modern post war society.. raised conciousness about sexual harassment in the workplace... questioning done by the seante done by all white guys... patronizing to her... anita encouraged women of color to run for office seeing just white men... showed the public what the senate looks like...

Picket Fences


CBS- Created by David Kelley (a writer for LA Law)

Dealt with religious themes....Jesus comes to the small town in one episode
Christmas episode (Dec 3, 1993): belief in Santa vs. God
• Virgin pregnancy is a mystery
• Question of whether to abort the baby to save the girl’s life
• What is faith in a secular era?
• “Yes Virginia” ending

Telecommunications Act of 1992


On the Air


David Lynch’s sitcom On the Air premieres on ABC

-Centered around a fictional TV network in the 1950s, when everything (including commercials) was broadcast live
7 episodes were made but only 3 made it to the air
Similar ‘weird’ style to Twin Peaks

Same creators- David Lynch and Mark Frost

Oddball characters such as Blinky Watts, the lighting guy who has a vision disorder that allows him to see more than we do

Subtitles for certain characters

The Larry Sanders Show


HBO- original programming start... inside jokes about hollywood.. who will be the late night successor?

Bill Clinton Wins Election


The Real World


Very important series
first one that set up an artificial situation to see how people would interact cast people that were bound to have conflict... had this idea all to themselves for 8 years.. networks just let them... serious topics discussed... season 3 one of the cast members revealed he had AIDS

Trial of Rodney King- LAPD officers

May 1992

All four officers were aquitted of asault and 3 of 4 were acquitted of using excessive force... riots broke out in LA in May 1992 after the trials verdict... people did not feel that the police officers were properly punished.... clueless news reporters were running around the city trying to get footage of the riots... 53 dead, over 2,000 injured... rodney kng was interviewed about the riots and said cant we all just get along....

Newsmagazine takes over

1993 - 1994

Newsmagazine was taking over the hour long format
•cheap and profitable.. example: Dateline

Death of quality dramas


season critics and people declared the death of quality dramas and the hour long drama in general

Fyn-Syn Passed


Ended up benefitting the production companies and Steven Bocho and Stephen Cannell became major moguls with programs on all networks/ Over time Fyn-Syn rules were eliminated



innovation now found more on cable... Steven Bocho created NYPD Blue... it pushed boundaries of sex and violence on ABC and this buzz ended up making this show the most talked about series

Beavis and Butt-head


MTV- starts transition from only videos into videos and series
o Beavis and Butt-head still incorporated videos into its episodes by having the title characters make comments about videos
o Primitive animation
o Picked up on The Simpsons
o Accused of causing children mischief
• Boy burned down his trailer
o MTV is completely different from the networks
o “Moron-a-thon”

The Nanny


on CBS- Mid 90s- comedy takes a turn towards the more traditional... procedural traditional sitcom.. Fran Drescher plays the nanny.. mary poppins role but opposite voice loud outrageous..

My So-Called Life*


High quality teen drama- much more complex than 90210... centeres around the life of angela chase.. a high school student... themes of IDENTITY and FINDING YOURSELF.. "GO,NOW" escaping childhood......angela is in love with someone from afar......bisexual character.... writing designed to be real teen dialogue... 1) pseudo profound monologues 2)life comparison to Anne Frank 3)"theres something wrong with my waffle"..... Sense of lowered expectations in the 90s "we had a time"...... FOOD=METAPHOR for disgust only aired 17 episodes

OJ Simpson


car chase

Winter Olympics in Norway


Figure skating was biggest draw.. highest rated olympics of all time.. Nancy Kerrigan (classy and beautiful) vs. Tonya Harding (white trash)... Nancy was attacked in the knee by Tonyas boyfriend... huge media story then they go head to head... Nancy won/ got endorsements after but was terribly uncharismatic accidentally badmouthed disney then dissapeared

UPN Launch

January 1995

aimed at specialized audiences and started out slow...reached 80% of the country...Hit program was Star Trek: Voyager....- Strategy: young viewers, and more african american viewers... target niche instead of mass audience...began like fox with 2 nights a week of programming and slowly built their way up...

Murder One


Bocho created it--- original legal drama that followed a fictional murder case from beginning to end

WB Launch

January 1995

.reached 55% of the country...

Jamie Kellner—used to be at fox now programming head looked for what had workd and didn't work and brought them to WB....WB picked up Sister Sister from ABC in 1995....Brought over the Wayans Bros

teen drama network shows include buffy the vampire slayer, dawsons creek and felicity

-Strategy: young viewers, and more african american viewers... target niche instead of mass audience...began like fox with 2 nights a week of programming and slowly built their way up...

Telecommunications Act of 1996


Clinton elimated the fyn syn rules... relaxed ownership limits on TV stations...without the changes... leaving potential IMMENSE GROWTH OF OPPURTUNITY...



on MTV- spinoff of Beavis and Butt-head...Centers around Daria, a smart and misanthropic teen....satire of high school and pop culture.... introduced tropes later followed by shows such as south park

simple punchlines, use of video clips

South Park


Show emergence was important for cable... episode we watched said shit more than 100 times...

Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky


they used dna evidence to get his stuff off her dress (rise of dna)

Ellen coming out episode


on ABC.. very important sitcom episode... first main character of a show thats gay... plotline announced before airdate and talked about all year... foreshadowing "just come out already"

Princess Diana dies in Car Crash


Sex and Violence

1998 - 1999

This season primeres included sex and the city and the sopranos... HBOs first hits... hbo shows people how they can show more sex and violence!!!!

Sex and the City


Changed the face of the tv series... one of hbos first original programs

Bill Clinton Grand Jury Trial


clinton was impeached.... "depends on what your definition of 'is' is.... was not intended for tv was obtained by cnn



one of the greatest show of all time.. tv as art form.. very cinematic... shows content was incredibly dense--> Literary allusions, History, American Immigrant Experience, Gangster films... created by DAVID CHASE..former writer producer for northern exposure... modern dialogue "Mesquite flavored sausage".. mixed many different genres*-> intergenerational family drama, gangster, sitcom, Selfconciousness of mafia movies- opening theme is a retelling of the american immigrant experience

Duck Metaphor-- a family of ducks lands in the sopranos pool... tony is intrigued by the baby ducks that are being raised by the parents...when the ducks fly away he collapses and has a breakdown (Empty Nest syndrome) son turns 13 and daughter is a senior in HS.... ducks=family...



Predictions of an apocalypse... computers would crash banks would lose money- world powers waited in washington.. everyone prepared themselves for doomsday.. midnight- nothing happened (sense of dissapointment?)

Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire


Women brought to vegas to compete.. a scandal surfaced after the show concerning his past relationship .. huge news across all outlets including serious ones- Today show devoted 40 minutes to the scandal....

Sept. 11th

Sept. 11, 2001

critics thought that irony was dead- its not true because emergence of the ozbources.. ana nicole smith.. spin off reality shows...(just a few months later!) epitomy of irony