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From Daytime to Primetime

The 20th century might be accurately described as the television century. Perhaps no technological invention in recent history has so vastly affected the American public. James Roman, author of Love, Light, and a Dream: Television's Past, Present, and Future (Greenwood, 1996), traces the evolution of American television programming from its beginnings as an experimental "spinoff" of radio broadcasting to its current role as an omnipresent and, some would say, omnipotent force of media and culture. Roman provides thematic chapters on all of television's major genres, including:
  • Westerns
  • Medical dramas
  • Soap operas
  • Sitcoms
  • Children's programs
  • Sports broadcasting
  • Miniseries
  • Docudramas
  • And Reality television An involving mixture of scholarship and nostalgia, this volume offers an intelligent examination of the many ways that American society has shaped--and been shaped by--television.
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Mixing scholarship and nostalgia, this volume examines how American society has shaped-and been shaped by-television.

Table of Contents

The Seeds of Television Programming: the Networks Steal from the Radio Tinsel Town Comes to TV From Prarie to Pavement: The Lawman's Lonely Ride Medicinal Myopia/Blind Justice: Television Makes House Calls Mirroring the Melting Pot: Gender, Race, and Religion The Sitcom: Innocence vs. Urban Chic Television and the Comics Television Drama Reality TV: Surviving the Trend Talk TV: Running at the Mouth Kids, Cartoons, Puppets, and Muppets From the Weird to the Bizarre: Television's Tell-Tale Tube Setting the Agenda: Television News Style and Substance Mini-Series/Docu-Drama: A Delicate Balance Sports and Television: The Tortoise Meets the Hare Trends and Issues

About the Author

James Roman is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is the author of Love, Light, and a Dream (Praeger, 1996).


"Drawing important connections between viewing choices and changing consumer expectations, a fine history presents a logical set of transitions between themes and delivery choices based on programming history." - MBR Bookwatch "This book will appeal to those searching for a general overview of America's most popular medium of ideas, culture and communication." - PW Annex "Roman (film and media studies, Hunter College, CUNY) outlines the history of American television programming from its beginnings as an experimental spinoff of radio broadcasting to its current role as an omnipresent and, arguably, omnipotent force of media and culture." - Reference & Research Book News "A member of the Hunter College (CUNY) faculty, Roman takes a topical rather than chronological approach, and thus is better able to pull out some of the key themes....[R]oman does well by staying on example programs long enough to make a point and illustrate larger trends." - CBQ Communication Booknotes Quarterly

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