The different ways that TV changed

One of the biggest transformations that defines TV throughout the 1980s and 1990s is the rise of the niche audience. A medium that once sought a large, mass audience for programming shifted to one that increasingly sought specific, targeted audiences. As you read this week, media scholars have deliberated upon the benefits and drawbacks of this transformation, and on the impact it had on TV’s role as a site of national public culture.

This reflection assignment asks you to consider the different ways that TV changed in this period. Please answer the following questions:

  1. What, according to Thompson, are some of the defining features of “quality TV”? Why, according to Thompson, does this form of programming emerge? (5 points)
  2. What, according to Smith-Shomade, were the problems with BET’s approaches to defining its audience and to selecting its programming? (5 points)
  3. In his discussion of talk shows, Gamson writes that what “takes place in and through the genre, though, is not simply the creation of a strange, hybrid sort of public sphere, but also the enactment of ongoing quarrels over the constitution of public space itself, and especially over the boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private'” (197). What does he mean by this? How do talk shows transform how TV works as a public sphere? (5 points)

Sample Solution