National Programming p. 249-275
Prime-Time Network Programming • The most popular programming appears on prime-time. • There are several different formats of series that appear on prime-time • Short run miniseries is a popular format that appear in prime-time.
Prime-Time Network Programming • Audience shares are the lifeblood of the modern media industry. • Average viewership has been in decline for the past thirty years. • Network television averages five million viewers. (Cable 110,000)
Situation Comedies • Sitcoms are formulaic: • A group of engaging characters • Plots are sprung onto characters (as opposed to being developed) • Characters have a series of “marked” traits. • They are seen as conventional, very rarely breaking social taboo.
A structural analysis of… • How could one compare and contrast the two shows? • Is there a major difference between the two shows beyond their “masks”? • Social Taboos?
Different Types of Sitcoms • Slobcom – The Counter-Sitcom with less than ideal family situation • Dramedies – A blend of comedy and drama design to increase the “texture” of the show.
Different Types of Sitcoms • Cross-Genre – A show that elements from sitcoms and other types of shows. • Quirky – A sitcom that “defies contemporary description”
A Thematic Approach to Sitcoms • Nuclear Family – (The Simpsons) • Single-Parent Family – (Empty Nest) • Unconventional Family – (My Two Dads) • Workplace – (Murphy Brown) • African-American – (Bernie Mac) • Female-Dominated – (Roseanne)
Spinoffs and Clones • Spinoff- Secondary characters from a previous hit on a network put into a new setting. • Clone – A series of imitations that follow the pattern established by a successful show.
Other Types of Shows • Crime Shows • Medical Dramas • Movies • Music and Variety • Reality Television
Miniseries • Roots, a 14-hour adaptation of a bestseller started the trend toward miniseries. • Lonesome Dove and the Thornsbirds also led the way for miniseries. • The miniseries is in decline today. (e.g. The Tenth Kingdom)
Music and Variety • American Bandstand • Your Hit Parade • MTV & VH1 • Behind the Music • Before They Were Rock Stars
Non-Prime-Time Network TV • Networks fill the early-morning daypart with newscast and talk, weekends with sports • Soaps, games, and talk shows dominate daytime network television just as they once dominated daytime network radio • Late night fare consist mostly of talk and comedy/variety programs.
Network TV Sports • By 1990, combined broadcast/cable rights payments for on the spot sports events exceeded a billion dollars. • Cable, because it can fill the niche role of broadcasting can use sports to increase a networks market share. • However, there are some serious issues with televising sports.
Children’s Programs • FCC declared the broadcast networks should have a minimum of three hours of educational children’s programming on per week. (E/I) • Nickelodeon is still the front runner for children’s programming on cable.
So What?Why is this important? • In order to be able to understand the message and forces behind a show, you must remove the “mask” of the show. • Formulas in the media exist for a reason, they have been proven successful. • To break the mold set up by the media, you must understand the rules behind it.