Chapter

Monday Night Football, Brian’s Song, and the Roots of the Prime-Time TV Event

Travis Vogan

in ABC Sports

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2018 | ISBN: 9780520292956
Published online May 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780520966260 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520292956.003.0005
Monday Night Football, Brian’s Song, and the Roots of the Prime-Time TV Event

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Emboldened by the success its 1968 Olympics coverage enjoyed in prime time, ABC teamed with the National Football League to launch Monday Night Football in 1970. Monday Night Football extended Arledge’s lavish aesthetic to fashion a spectacle that would attract a broader audience than typical weekend telecasts. It particularly set its sights on women—a necessary audience for any successful prime-time show. While Monday Night Football grew out of ABC’s Mexico City broadcasts, it avoided discussing racial tensions that might splinter the consistent prime-time viewership it sought. ABC used Monday Night Football’s popularity to create successful television events that utilized the programing flows it forged and reproduced its pasteurized racial politics, such as the 1971 made-for-television movie Brian’s Song, and, more significantly, the 1977 miniseries Roots. Chapter 4 contextualizes Monday Night Football’s development and explains how it informed the depiction of race on network television events beyond sports broadcasts.

Keywords: Monday Night Football; Brian’s Song; Roots; gender; race; prime-time television

Chapter.  11827 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Television

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