Television after TV: Essays on a Medium in Transition by Jostein Gripsrud, Priscilla Ovalle

By Jostein Gripsrud, Priscilla Ovalle

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Additional resources for Television after TV: Essays on a Medium in Transition (Console-ing Passions)

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The shift to digital created tremendous anxieties and a series of abortive responses from broadcasters because it threatened many of the most central tenets that had made the industry profitable over several decades. Consider, in this regard, how digital technologies have threatened the very centrality of TV'S historic cash cow: syndication. Most academic histories of televi­ sion focus almost exclusively on network television and ignore the funda­ mental role that the sale of independently produced series to individual and affiliated stations have played in the history of the medium.

Richard Kilborn traces the term "reality T V " to the appearance of Unsolved Mysteries in 1987. See his "How Real Can You Get? 4 (1994): 421-39. The term is now applied to a diverse group of programs including reality game shows, "shockumentaries" like 24 LYNN SPIGEL When Good Pets Go Bad, serialized reality shows with social experiment themes like The Real World and Survivor, or reality celebrity shows like The Osbournes. 4. , Survivor, and Big Brother. 5. In an informal conversation (on January 7,2003) with Susan Lyne, then head of A B C Prime Time Entertainment, I learned that the network offers people about nine times their yearly salary to appear on serialized reality programs.

4 1 - 6 2 . It should be noted that "quality" T V , or what counts as quality, changes over time (see Caldwell, Televisuality, chapter 1). 60. Erik Barnouw, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975); Asa Briggs, Sound and Vision: History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, vols. 1 - 4 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). 61. William Boddy, Fifties Television: The Industry and Its Critics (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990); Susan J.

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