Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting

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Cable television, on the brink of a boom in the 1970s, promised audiences a new media frontier-an expansive new variety of entertainment and information choices. Music video, 24–hour news, 24-hour weather, movie channels, children's channels, home shopping, and channels targeting groups based on demographic characteristics or interests were introduced.

Cable Visions looks beyond broadcasting’s mainstream, toward cable's alternatives, to critically consider the capacity of commercial media to serve the public interest. It offers an overview of the industry's history and regulatory trends, case studies of key cable newcomers aimed at niche markets (including Nickelodeon, BET, and HBO Latino), and analyses of programming forms introduced by cable TV (such as nature, cooking, sports, and history channels).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This comprehensive survey is a must for anyone interested in the opportunities, limits, and future projections of the new-media environment.”

Cable Visions is a compelling exploration of contemporary U.S. television that grapples with the contradictory logic of consumerism and citizenship upon which cable TV is based. Thoroughly researched, accessible, and innovative in design, the essays trace cable from its early utopian beginnings as ‘alternative’ TV to its current-day realization as a multi–channel (but not necessarily diverse) commercial system aimed at niche tastes. A ‘must read’ for anyone interested in understanding the opportunities and limits of the new media environment.”
-Lynn Spigel,author of Make Room for TV and TV by Design

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814799505
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity and Kids Rule!: Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship.

Cynthia Chris is Assistant Professor of Media Culture at the City University of New York's College of Staten Island, and author of Watching Wildlife.

Anthony Freitas works as a media relations consultant for non-profit organizations in San Francisco.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1
Institutions and Audiences
Introduction     17
The Moms 'n' Pops of CATV   Megan Mullen     24
A Taste of Class: Pay-TV and the Commodification of Television in Postwar America   John McMurria     44
Cable's Digital Future   Francois Bar   Jonathan Taplin     66
If It's Not TV, What Is It? The Case of U.S. Subscription Television   Amanda D. Lotz     85
Where the Cable Ends: Television beyond Fringe Areas   Lisa Parks     103
Introduction     129
Discovery's Wild Discovery: The Growth and Globalization of TV's Animal Genres   Cynthia Chris     137
Tunnel Vision and Food: A Political-Economic Analysis of Food Network   Cheri Ketchum     158
Target Market Black: BET and the Branding of African America   Beretta E. Smith-Shomade     177
Monolingualism, Biculturalism, and Cable TV: HBO Latino and the Promise of the Multiplex   Katynka Z. Martinez     194
Gay Programming, Gay Publics: Public and Private Tensions in Lesbian and Gay Cable Channels   Anthony Freitas     215
The Nickelodeon Brand: Buying and Selling the Audience   SarahBanet-Weiser     234
Cable Programs: The Platinum Age of Television?
Introduction     255
Cable Watching: HBO, The Sopranos, and Discourses of Distinction   Dana Polan     261
Bank Tellers and Flag Wavers: Cable News in the United States   Toby Miller     284
Dualcasting: Bravo's Gay Programming and the Quest for Women Audiences   Katherine Sender     302
"I'm Rich, Bitch!!!": The Comedy of Chappelle's Show   Christine Acham     319
Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment's Global Reach: Latino Fans and Wrestlers   Ellen Seiter     338
About the Contributors     359
Index     363
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