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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.

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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.


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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)


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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.


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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?


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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.


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Different Types of Sitcoms

  • Cross-Genre – A show that elements from sitcoms and other types of shows.

  • Quirky – A sitcom that “defies contemporary description”


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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)


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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.


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Other Types of Shows

  • Crime Shows

  • Medical Dramas

  • Movies

  • Music and Variety

  • Reality Television


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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)


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Music and Variety

  • American Bandstand

  • Your Hit Parade

  • MTV & VH1

  • Behind the Music

  • Before They Were Rock Stars


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.