The creation of television drama

Authored by: Horace M. Newcomb

A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  September  2002

Print ISBN: 9781138134867
eBook ISBN: 9780203409800
Adobe ISBN: 9781134938254


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While television is used in many ways, for many purposes, in different contexts, there is no question but that one of the most pervasive uses is the dissemination of dramatic entertainment. For this reason, if for no other, we might be interested in the central question of this chapter - how does that “moment” of dramatic entertainment come to be? In spite of our general familiarity and ease with the medium, this aspect of television remains mysterious, for viewers and scholars alike. My own interest in this general area focuses on a specific question: what is the role of individual creativity in the context of mass art? One result of that interest was a collaborative effort with Robert S. Alley, a book-length study of prominent television producers (Newcomb and Alley, 1983). Our thesis, auteurist in tone, was that “strong” producers could manipulate this mass industrial system as much as they were manipulated by it. The thesis was substantiated with interviews and critical analysis.

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