The Television Show!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

An update to On the Media's look at the world of television, originally aired in May, including how the industry is coping with changing consumer habits, the future of the communal viewing experience, and reality TV's reality problem.

TV Hijackers

On a Sunday evening in the late 1980s, two or more unknown men hijacked the signal for two Chicago area TV stations. They broadcast a spooky, subversive, disturbing message — twice. Brooke talks to Bohus Blahut, a Chicago broadcaster, who saw the broadcast and was unable to forget it. 


Doctor Who Theme - Delia Derbyshire/Ron Grainer

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How We Watch TV

There are a lot of ways to watch TV: free streaming online, via a traditional cable or satellite package, paying for services like Hulu Plus, etc. But the TV industry makes vastly different amounts of money depending on how you choose to watch. We invited Peter Kafka, media reporter for the website All Things Digital, to play the part of a moustache-twirling cable baron, and explain which of our staffers have viewing habits he can support, and why.

Earle Hagen and Herbert W. Spencer - The Fishin' Hole

Red Foley - Television

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Chaos Scenario Revisitied

Back in 2005, Bob explained his Chaos Scenario about the future of media — including TV.  Now, he reflects back on predictions he made and the status of television viewing today.


The Who - Baba O'Riley


Why TV Is So Good Right Now

One of the surprising side effects of the upheavals in the TV industry’s business model is that, for now, we’re actually living in a golden age of scripted television. Television networks have found that one of the few predictable ways to build an audience is to create content that’s really, really good. Alan Sepinwall covers TV for and is the author of the new book The Revolution Was Televised. He tells Bob about the unlikely path that led us to this TV renaissance.


Battles - White Electric (Shabazz Palaces Remix)

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Reality TV is Even Faker Than You Think

Reality TV — the very institution that has saved the medium by delivering high ratings at low cost — has also pretty much defiled the culture in all the obvious ways. What is perhaps less than obvious is how manufactured and unspontaneous it all is. To understand the reality behind the unreality of reality TV, we spoke to a former producer of such fare. The anonymous producer tells Bob about some of the elaborate staging and scripting he participated in while helping produce these shows.


Dwight Twilley Band - TV

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The Incredible Value of Live Sports

Live sports broadcasts account for a big part of your cable bill. Why? Because cable providers know they can count on sports to draw large audiences even as audiences shrink for other types of programming. Peter Kafka of the website All Things Digital returns to talk with Bob about the remarkable rise of ESPN and the importance of live sports to the cable ecosystem. 


Will We Ever Watch TV Together Again?

Web TV services, DVRs, and on-demand TV encourage us to ignore the broadcast schedule and watch at our convenience. So what will become of the experience of watching the same show at the same time as your friends? Bob sits down with David Carr, media critic at the New York Times, and Matt Zoller Seitz, New York magazine's TV critic, to see if the water cooler will evolve or perish.


When is it OK to Spoil?

People who watch TV when it actually airs and blab about it online can ruin it for those of us who watch shows at our leisure. Their excited Twitter chatter about the great twist in last night’s Mad Men is frustrating if you haven’t yet watched last night’s Mad Men. New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum is a prolific tweeter who began grappling with this problem after Twitter users complained about a phenomenon they called "Nussbombing." She talks to Brooke about her evolving system of spoiler etiquette.


Big Joe Turner - TV Mama

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