New publication: BBC and Television Genres in Jeopardy
This book considers British television from the point of view of executive producers: the people who employ the workforce and are in charge of making all television series. The focus of the book is twenty-one separate genres, at least seven of which are in significant decline – namely current affairs, education, natural history, science, arts, children’s and religion. Some other public service genres – such as documentary, history and travel – are in good health. The most commercially successful genres include formatted factual entertainment series, such as cooking, homes, quiz/game, reality and sport.
The author completed 150 interviews not only with executive producers but with BBC and ITV channel controllers and top genre commissioners. Playing a supporting role are another 200 interviews, which were the basis of the author’s 1993 book, Television Producers. Since 1990, and especially since 2008, British television production has faced financial challenges. Meanwhile, BSkyB, Virgin Media and Channel Five are American controlled, and most of the larger London ‘independent’ production companies are now American or Euro-American owned and operated. Public service broadcasting in general, and BBC television in particular, are threatened with probable further decline. This book offers new insights into the state of British television through the eyes of those working on the inside.
Jeremy Tunstall is the author of numerous books on European, American and British media, including Communications Deregulation, The Media are American, The Media were American and Media Moguls. He is now Emeritus Professor of Sociology at City University, London, where he was instrumental in launching Journalism Studies. He is a founder member of the Euromedia Research Group and has spent academic years at the University of California, San Diego and George Washington University. For his books, he has interviewed senior media people in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, New York, Brussels, India, China, Mexico, Colombia, Algeria and Kenya.