Television in the 1990's was leaning into the expansion of cable networks as the Big Three - NBC, ABC and CBS fought to keep as much of the market share as possible. Traditional television shows of the 1980's were not as popular as new niche networking which allowed for programming that appealed to smaller segments of the population. As the number of television networks increased the number of television screens in the home increased as well, families did not watch shows as a family as often as they used to - television had become a personal affair.
Sitcoms in the 1990's became more reflective of everyday society and shows started to tackle tough issues like in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will breaks down after his father leaves again or on Saved by the Bell when the Bayside gang tackles teen drug use. NBC was "Must See TV" and the TGIF lineup had the youth and their families tuned in every week.
By the end of the decade a new technology was introduced that would change television forever - the Digital Video Recorder or DVR was introduced by Tivo and for the first time in history you didn't need to use your VCR to record a show, you could program a computer record it and the recording would even be digital. You could also rewind live TV and fast forward through commercials.
Television, technology and targeted marketing were merging and things would never look the same again.
Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)
Task 2: Review the provided videos and attached links for Television during the 1990's (10 minutes)
Task 3: Dig deeper into one of the Television Shows presented in this area of focus for the 1990’s (25 minutes)
Select One of the Television Shows Presented in the 1990’s
Go to GOOGLE CLASSROOM and Claim the Google Slide has your selection
Only One Person Per Slide (there are at least TWO slides for each selectable option)
If Your First Selection is Taken Select Another Choice
Research Information About Your Selection
Provide a summary of the Show
Remember You Are Providing a Summary For The Series Not The Linked Clip AND The Years The Show Aired(TV Show)
Add Images and Information to Your Google Slide
Review Your Findings With Anyone Who Completed the Same Show
Task 4: Share Your Findings With The Class (With Anyone Who Completed the Same Show) (10 minutes)
Families disappeared on dramas. Instead, hour-long ensembles were composed of cops (NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street), lawyers (Ally McBeal, The Practice), and doctors (ER, Chicago Hope). These people’s personal lives may have been a mess — NYPD‘s Sipowicz is a recovering drunk, Ally is a spindly bundle of neuroses — but they found warmth at the hearth of the workplace. TV simply reflects society. And, in this case, TV also reflects how society watches TV. With hundreds of cable options, and 2.4 TVs in the average American home, families no longer gather in front of one set to watch the same show. (https://ew.com/article/1999/02/19/100-greatest-moments-television-1990s/ )
Law & Order
Game Shows and Reality Shows
The term ‘reality television’ became commonplace in different academic studies during the 1990s, with early literature focusing on crime, consumer affairs and disaster formats (e.g. 999, Cops, Crimewatch). The makeover, talk show and ‘docusoap’ formats of the 1990s (e.g. Changing Rooms, Jerry Springer, Airport) meant that the focus of the literature and the use of the term ‘reality television’ expanded to include these genres. ‘Social experiments’ (e.g. The 1900 House, Survivor, Big Brother), which emerged at the turn of the millennium, expanded the genre further, as did the early 2000s resurgence in talent shows heralded by the Pop stars and Pop Idol franchises – to the point where reality has moved away from being a single genre, and, instead becomes more of what Nick Couldry (2009) terms a ‘meta-genre’ (p. 47) encompassing several sub-genres . (https://books.emeraldinsight.com/resources/pdfs/chapters/9781839090240-TYPE23-NR2.pdf )
The Real World
Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?
Traditional family comedies such as The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Growing Pains (ABC, 1985–92) remained on the air into the 1990s, while at the same time more “realistic” shows featuring lower-middle-class families such as Roseanne (ABC, 1988–97), The Simpsons (Fox, begun 1989), Married…with Children (Fox, 1987–97), and Grace Under Fire (ABC, 1993–98) introduced a completely different vision of the American family. The cultural consensus that had united so much of television during the network era had been obliterated. Audiences were no longer watching the same things at the same time, and the choices they had were the greatest ever and continuing to multiply. (https://www.britannica.com/art/television-in-the-United-States/The-1990s-the-loss-of-shared-experience#ref283646 )
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Throughout the 1990s, television content continued to move into areas that made many viewers and special interest groups uncomfortable. Strong language and explicit sexual topics became common both on cable and on broadcast TV, even in the early evening hours. Two of the more controversial series of the decade were cable products: MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head (1993–97, 2011) and Comedy Central’s South Park (begun 1997). Both animated series that challenged traditional notions of taste, and both part of a new wave of adult cartoons inspired by the success of The Simpsons, these programs demonstrated that the bulk of the experimentation on television was taking place off the major networks. (https://www.britannica.com/art/television-in-the-United-States/Teen-dramas-and-adult-cartoons )
Beavis and Butthead
The television talk show phenomenon took hold in the 1990s particularly in Western countries, but it has its precedents in earlier radio broadcasting. The talk show broadly refers to a style of unscripted discussion that privileges audience participation. The label has been used to describe a range of formats from celebrity interviews, conversations between elite peers, round table discussions, to talk between “ordinary people,” usually in a studio audience. It gained wider media attention and notoriety through participants’ engagement in rowdy and even violent behavior. The talk show has opened up an arena for “ordinary people” to speak in public, which has spurred a broad range of evaluations. More public-issue shows have been credited with providing a forum where formal institutions meet the public, leading some to describe them as “infotainment” or “democratainment”; other shows have emphasized spectacle and conflict and have been labeled “trashy” or “freak shows.” (https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791286/obo-9780199791286-0181.xml )
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Total Request Live (TRL)
The 1990s is considered as the age of alternative media. Up until this point, television was the main mass medium with three major networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – offering very limited selections of programs. But by the 1990s, the continuing expansion of cable and satellite TV meant more channels and more choices for programming. By the end of the decade, about 65 million households had a cable subscription service. In addition, several new broadcast networks had also come into play.
TV used to be a shared experience. In many ways, it brought together many people no matter the age, status, or race. But with cable and satellite services becoming more accessible, television began to fragment. Unlike before where programs were made to attract a wider audience, television in the 1990s was the opposite. Programs tended to attract a smaller audience, or audience of a definite age group, income or preferences in order to attract certain advertisers. (https://mentalitch.com/television-in-the-1990s/ )
Fox News Network
MSNBC was launched on July 15, 1996, after a lengthy taped loop of promos aired following the end of America's Talking. The first show, which was anchored by Jodi Applegate, broadcast a lineup of news read by Lori Stokes, interviews and opinions. During the day, rolling news coverage continued with The Contributors, a show that featured Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, as well as interactive programming coordinated by Applegate, John Gibson and John Seigenthaler. Stories were generally longer and more detailed than the stories running on CNN at the time.
The start was a bit bumpy due to a series of changes in management and continuing internal squabbles over the direction of the network. Some NBC affiliates were concerned that cross-promotion would divert viewers from their own programs, although that fear abated. However, MSNBC was often first to break news. It broke the story of the crash of TWA Flight 800 eight minutes before CNN, ushering in an era of hypercompetitiveness between the news channels that continues today. MSNBC originally demonstrated the interactive value of the Internet. The network's first slogan was It's Time to Get Connected, and e-mail addresses and phone numbers were displayed regularly. - Source
Cable television channel Courtroom Television Network, known as Court TV, was launched on July 1, 1991, at 6:00 am Eastern Time by founder Steven Brill and was available to three million subscribers. Its original anchors were Jack Ford, Fred Graham, Cynthia McFadden, and Gregg Jarrett. The network was born out of two competing projects to launch cable channels with live courtroom proceedings, the American Trial Network from Time Warner and American Lawyer Media, and In Court from Cablevision and NBC. Both projects were present at the National Cable Television Association, in June 1990. Rather than trying to establish two competing networks, the projects were combined on December 14, 1990. Liberty Media would join the venture in 1991. The network's first logo consisted of a rectangle with the word "COURT", and the letters "TV" below, with a line underneath.
The channel originally consisted of live courtroom trials that were interspersed with anchors and reporters. It was led by law writer Steven Brill, who later left the network in 1997. The network came into its own during the Menéndez brothers' first trial in 1994, and the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. - Source
Digital Video Recorder
The digital video recording revolution, started in 1999 by TiVo (and its oft-forgotten competitor, ReplayTV), has been eagerly embraced by consumers who enjoy the flexibility that the machines afford. And it's easy to understand why: DVR fundamentally changes the experience of watching television. First, it allows users to record programs to an internal hard drive for later viewing. Second, it lets viewers disrupt live TV—pause, rewind and, perhaps most importantly, fast forward (for delayed or recorded programming). (https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a1747/4217964/ )
Tivo Changes Television
In 1998, Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay developed a device they called TiVo and began public trials in the San Francisco area. After exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1999, TiVos started shipping later that year and quickly took off. The TiVo was essentially a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), serving a similar function to a VCR in that it allowed a television viewer to record programming for a later time. Instead of using VHS tape as the recording medium, DVRs used an internal hard drive. This innovation introduced a number of improvements such as little degradation for reuse and software to improve the replay of the recorded television. Although not the first DVR, TiVo included many features that greatly improved the television recording experience for its users. TiVo included such features as automatically recording programs that the user might be interested in, the ability to pause live television and rewind and replay up to a half an hour of recently-viewed television, and of course the ability to easily fast-forward through commercials.
At first cable companies and broadcasters tried to stop DVRs by challenging their legality, but the genie was out of the bottle. Whatever small victories they achieved against the DVR industry, they were short lived as consumer adoption exploded. Toward the end of the 2000s, cable companies started to shift focus and rather than try to combat DVRs, they started offering DVRs as part of their service, offering to rent the devices to their subscribers and eventually integrating them into their cable television set-top boxes. (https://electronics360.globalspec.com/article/9681/the-evolution-of-dvr-technology )