Beyond Prime Time
Television Programming in the Post-Network Era
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Daytime soap operas. Evening news. Late-night talk shows. Television has long been defined by its daily schedule, and the viewing habits that develop around it. Technologies like DVRs, iPods, and online video have freed audiences from rigid time constraints—we no longer have to wait for a program to be "on" to watch it—but scheduling still plays a major role in the production of television.
Prime-time series programming between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. has dominated most critical discussion about television since its beginnings, but Beyond Prime Time brings together leading television scholars to explore how shifts in television’s industrial practices and new media convergence have affected the other 80% of the viewing day. The contributors explore a broad range of non-prime-time forms including talk shows, soap operas, news, syndication, and children’s programs, non-series forms such as sports and made-for-television movies, as well as entities such as local affiliate stations and public television.
Importantly, all of these forms rely on norms of production, financing, and viewer habits that distinguish them from the practices common among prime-time series and often from each other. Each of the chapters examines how the production practices and textual strategies of a particular programming form have shifted in response to sweeping industry changes, together telling the story of a medium in transition at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Contributors: Sarah Banet-Weiser, Victoria E. Johnson, Jeffrey P. Jones, Derek Kompare, Elana Levine, Amanda D. Lotz, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, Laurie Ouellette, Erin Copple Smith
Table of Contents
Introduction, Amanda D. Lotz. 1. I Want My Talk TV: Network Talk Shows in a Digital Universe, Jeffrey P. Jones. 2. Like Sands through the Hourglass: The Changing Fortunes of the Daytime Television Soap Opera, Elana Levine.3. The Benefits of Banality: Domestic Syndication in the Post-Network Era, Derek Kompare. 4. Home is Where the Brand Is: Children’s Television in a Post-Network Era, Sarah Banet-Weiser. 5. National Nightly News in the On-Demand Era, Amanda D. Lotz. 6. Out of Prime Time, Into the Cubicle, and Beyond: CBS Sportsline and Sport's Post-Network Universe, Victoria E. Johnson. 7. A Form in Peril: The Evolution of the Made-for-Television Movie, Erin Copple Smith. 8. The Dynamics of Local News, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick. 9. Reinventing PBS: Public Television in the Post-Network, Post-Welfare Era, Laurie Ouellette.
Amanda D. Lotz is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. She is author of Redesigning Women: Television after the Network Era and The Television Will Be Revolutionized.
"Lotz has assembled some of television studies' very best scholars, all with their fingers firmly on the pulse of a changing medium. The result is a wonderful, must-read, must-teach collection about what's happening to the other 21 hours of television in a day."--Jonathan Gray, author of Television Entertainment and Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality
"Amanda Lotz's Beyond Prime Time is an impressive, much-needed collection that fills a significant gap in television studies. The book pushes 'beyond scholars' standard prime time preoccupation in several important ways: it details critically ignored (but economically important) off-prime programming; clarifies crucial industrial factors that most 'genre' taxonomies ignore; and carefully integrates the last two decades of new technology developments without the new media jargon that stalls other accounts. Lotz and her impressive contributors excel at providing clear, holistic accounts that show how contemporary television's many complications- aesthetic, economic, cultural- arise from format-specific institutional arrangements and programming strategies."--John T. Caldwell, author of Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television and co-editor of Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries
"Who knew the O.J. Simpson trial may have helped break housewives’ addiction to soaps? Who knew the Today Show runs constantly on the Internet? Who knew Hannah Montana does wake-up calls? These authors know, and supply significant details about how everyday television provides ritual and event viewing for us. This is a fascinating and invaluable book for media scholars."--Janet Staiger, author of Media Reception Studies and co-editor of Convergence Media History