Dr. George Gerbner is the Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Gerber and his colleagues Larry Gross, Michael Morgan, Nancy Signorielli, and sometimes Stewart Hoover have published many studies of television and its impact on society. The studies have been widely published and influential. Gerber believes that television distorts reality, and Americans, who watch a large amount of t.v. programming, are having their views on reality distorted by the medium.
Television Critic David Bianculli previews the eight-hour PBS series "Television." The series is composed of clips from vintage and recent television programs as well as interviews with the creative people behind some of the best news and entertainment shows.
The age of the big three networks is over. Ten years ago, ABC, CBS and NBC monopolized 90% of the television audience. Now they attract a bit over sixty. Reporter Ken Auletta has written about the impact of the decline of the networks and the rise of cable and home video. His new book is called Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way. (Random House)
TV critic David Bianculli considers network TV's new trend of premiering new shows up to a month earlier than they used to. That, combined with the constant schedule changes, is contributing to a changing television landscape.
Former president of NBC Entertainment Brandon Tartikoff was the youngest person to hold that position. While there, he was responsible for such hit series as "The Cosby Show," "Cheers," "Miami Vice," and "Hill Street Blues." Now Tartikoff is chairman at Paramount Pictures. He has a new book about his NBC years, called "The Last Great Ride."
The former head of NBC's television programming Pat Weaver (Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver, Jr.). He began that job in the early days of the medium - in 1949 - and was the creator of two of television's longest running shows, the "Today" show and the "Tonight" show. Weaver started his career in radio, where he worked with comic Fred Allen. And he was advertising manager for the American Tobacco Company, under the eccentric tobacco magnate George Washington Hill. Weaver has a new memoir of his career, "The Best Seat in the House," (Knopf).