Letters to the producer: a study of prime-time television content used to guide viewer reality
Eisenberg, Barry S.
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This study explores how some television viewers are using prime-time content to influence their personal and societal conceptions of reality. Through the analysis of letters written by viewers to producers, it can be found how some viewer outlooks on both society and personal life are being guided by the courses of action and resolutions presented in television drama. Furthermore, the letters can reveal in what ways viewers come to perceive producers as a type of counselor, knowledgeable enough to advise. This thesis, using Family Ties, an NBC situation-comedy program as a case study, examines letters to the producers in the context of the issue described above. The study is supplemented with the relevant scripts of the program, as well as interviews with the program's producers. The thesis outlines the problems and questions surrounding the study, reviews the related literature, provides a rationale, describes the methodology, and proceeds to analyze and interpret the viewer letters.
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