Article

American Television Industry

Michele Hilmes

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online June 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0178
American Television Industry

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Critical exploration of the broadcasting industry began in the 1920s, during the period of network radio. As with film, the industry (and its audiences) became an object of study before its texts, styles, and genres did—manifesting the anxieties many felt over the 20th century’s “industrialization of culture” with its overturning of traditional hierarchies. Not until the 1980s did critical/cultural study of the television industry emerge from the social scientific and economic research that had predominated earlier. During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, the period of television’s prehistory in radio, broadcasting-industry structures were developed, national networks were established, program styles and genres emerged, and audiences formed around the radio set in the home. Then, in the 1950s, radio’s structures met film’s visuality in television, accelerating the ever-growing convergence of Hollywood and broadcasting. By the 1980s, American television dominated the global marketplace and continues to do so in the digital era, though transnational exchange has become far more complex. The emphasis here on American broadcasting reflects the fact that radio and television, more than other media, developed in highly national contexts. Some work on other national and regional traditions is included, particularly those that have intersected in important ways with the development of American television. Besides academic scholarship, this bibliography includes key sources produced by the industry itself: trade journals; archives of major institutions, producers, and artists; and participant/observer accounts.

Article.  5956 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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