Fifties Television: The Industry and Its Critics

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University of Illinois Press, 1993 - Performing Arts - 294 pages
Just a few years in the mid-1950s separated the "golden age" of television's live anthology drama from Newton Minow's famous "vast wasteland" pronouncement. Fifties Television shows how the significant programming changes of the period cannot be attributed simply to shifting public tastes or the exhaustion of particular program genres, but underscore fundamental changes in the way prime-time entertainment programs were produced, sponsored, and scheduled. These changes helped shape television as we know it today. William Boddy provides a wide-ranging and rigorous analysis of the fledgling American television industry during the period of its greatest economic growth, programming changes, and critical controversy. He carefully traces the development of the medium from the experimental era of the 1920s and 1930s through the regulatory battles of the 1940s and the network programming wars of the 1950s.
 

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Contents

Debating Television
15
Regulation of the Early Television Industry
28
UHF the Television Freeze and the Network Monopoly
42
The Television Industry in the Early 1950s
63
Early Film Programming in Television
65
Live Television Program Formats and Critical Hierarchies
80
The False Dawn of a Golden Age
93
Programs and Power Networks Sponsors and the Rise of Film Programming
111
The New Structure of Television Sponsorship
155
Network Control of the Program Procurement Process
168
Crisis and Counterattack 195860
185
The Honeymoon Is Over The End of Live Drama
187
TVs Public Relations Crisis of the Late 1950s
214
The Critics and the Wasteland Redefining Commercial Television
233
The Death of the Networks as Reformist Heroes
244
Bibliography
257

The Economics of Television Networking
113
The Hollywood Studios Move into Prime Time
132

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About the author (1993)

William Boddy is in the department of speech at Baruch College, City University of New York, and is the author of numerous articles in journals and edited collections dealing with television and society.

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