This book is about how TV makers--notably writers, producers, and network programmers--are deeply influenced by public pressures outside their craft. Many scholars assume that the relationship between society and television is one-way, that the traffic of influence moves from the content of a program to the behavior of those who view it, and that if a show is too exploitative or violent or stereotypical, it transforms the minds of those who watch it in some manner. Authors Selnow and Gilbert maintain that the one-way influence is only half-true. Even as television makes its impact on viewers, viewers, society, and society's institutions make their impact on television, often with more noticeable effect. Some of television's most influential and best known producers and programmers (including Grant Tinker, Norman Lear, Steven Bochco, and Gary David Goldberg) discuss the forces that affect their selection of themes and treatments, why they include or reject material, and how they view their opinion leader roles and their roles as members of the society that is so influenced by their products.Selnow and Gilbert examine many of the obvious as well as less apparent forces that affect content decisions: government regulations, interest groups, and advertisers. They argue that the rapid advancement in telecommunication technologies has as much to do with what we watch as any of the social forces. The authors look not only at the current control of content, but point toward the consortium of influences that will affect the medium as it evolves rapidly throughout the next decade.
Society's Impact on Television
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