Television programming began by borrowing genres from radio such as variety shows, sitcoms, soap operas, and newscasts. Starting in 1955. The two major branches of TV programming: entertainment and information. the two were once more distinct.
TV Entertainment: Our Comic Culture
TV comedy is usually delivered in three formats: sketch comedy, situation comedy (sitcom), and domestic comedy.
Sketch comedy, or short comedy skits, was a key element in early TV variety shows, which also included singers, dancers, acrobats, animal acts, and stand-up comics.
Sketch comedy, though, had some major drawbacks. The hour-long variety series in which these skits appeared were more expensive to produce than half-hour sitcoms. Also, skits on the weekly variety shows used up new routines very quickly.
Until recently, the most dependable entertainment program on television has been the half-hour comedy series . The situation comedy, or sitcom, features a recurring cast; each episode establishes a narrative situation, complicates it, develops increasing confusion among its characters, and then usually resolves the complications.
Characters are usually static and predictable, and they generally do not develop much during the course of a series. Such characters "are never troubled in profound ways." Stress, more often the result of external confusion rather than emotional anxiety, "is always funny."
Domestic Comedy focus on character relationships, but they often also reflect social and cultural issues of the time in which the show is set. For example, ABC's Modern Family features three generations of a family that includes members of different ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and marital statuses.
Characters and settings are usually more important than complicated corners. Although an episode might offer a goofy situation as a subplot, more typically the main narrative features a personal problem or family crisis that characters have to resolve. Greater emphasis is placed on character development than on reestablishing the order that has been disrupted by confusion.
Today, domestic comedies may also mix dramatic and comedic elements. This blurring of serious and comic themes marks a contemporary hybrid, sometimes labeled dramedy.
TV Entertainment: Our Dramatic Culture
Because the production of TV entertainment was centered in Chennai City in its early days, many of its ideas, sets, technicians, actors, and directors came from theater. The TV dramas that grew from these early influences fit roughly into two categories: the antholy drama and the episodic series.
Anthology dramas brought live dramatic theater to that television audience. Influenced by stage plays, anthologies offered new, artistically significant teleplays (scripts written for television), casts, directors, writers, and sets from one week to the next. Ex: Gracy Mohan and Balumahendra.
The anthology' drama on television ended for both economic and political reasons. First, advertisers disliked anthologies because they often presented stories containing complex human problems that were not easily resolved. A second reason for the demise of anthology dramas was a change in audience. Anthology dramas were not as popular in this newly expanded market.
Third, anthology dramas were expensive to produce—double the cost of most other TV genres in the 1950s. Each week meant a completely new story line, as well as new writers, casts, and expensive sets. Sponsors and networks came to realize that it would be less expensive to use the same cast and set each week, and it would also be easier to build audience allegiance with an ongoing program.
Finally, anthologies that dealt seriously with the changing social landscape were sometimes labeled "politically controversial." Eventually, both sponsors and networks came to prefer less controversial programming.
Abandoning anthologies, producers and writers increasingly developed episodic series, first used on radio in 1929. In this format, main characters continue from week to week, sets and locales remain the same, and technical crews stay with the program. The episodic series comes in two general types: Chapter shows and serial programs.
Chapter shows are self-contained stories with a recurring set of main characters who confront a problem, face a series of conflicts, and find a resolution. This structure can be used in a wide range of sitcoms and dramatic genres, including adult westerns like Gunsmoke (1955-75); police/detective shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000- ) In contrast to chapter shows,
serial programs are open-ended episodic shows; that is, most story lines continue from episode to episode. Cheaper to produce than chapter shows, employing just a few
Another type of drama is the hybrid, which developed in the early 1980s with the appearance of Hill Street Blues (1981-87). Often mixing comic situations and grim plots, this multiple-cast show looked like an open-ended soap opera.
Reality TV and Other Enduring Trends
Up to this point, we have focused on long-standing TV program trends, but many other genres have played major roles in TV's history, both inside and outside prime time. Talk shows like the Tonight Show (1954- ) have fed our curiosity about celebrities and politicians, and offered satire on politics and business
Source: : ANINTRODUCTION EDITION TO MASS COMMUNICATION
Christopher R. Martin , Bettina Fabos