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January 13, 2019

Brownlow, her life takes a far different turn as she goes from slum-life to high-life. It is here she meets Jack MacCarron who bears a striking resemblance to the Artful Dodger, she knew form her slum days. Could he be that same person , and how will that affect her now?

Fans of the classic Dickens novel will find Olivia Twist a hard book to pass up as the old masterpiece has been expertly reimagined, giving an entirely new dynamic to the celebrated tale. Line numbers beginning at 6 pm. The War of saw America threatened on every side. Encouraged by the British, Indian tribes attacked settlers in the West, while the Royal Navy terrorized the coasts. Then British troops set the White House ablaze, and a feeling of hopelessness spread across the country.

Into this dire situation stepped Major General Andrew Jackson, who had witnessed the horrors of the Revolutionary War and Indian attacks and knew that America had to control the mouth of the Mississippi River, New Orleans, to stop the British aggression. And that is what he miraculously did! After years at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, all Noah dreams of is the opportunity to fail if he wants to.

Sticking up for Noah lands Donovan in the middle of a huge feud with Hashtag. And it may have gone more than a little bit to his head. He describes the work as "having plenty of action and adventure along the way, along with an abundance of magic and wonder! It's an immersive world that a child can get lost in and one that I hope will inspire them to dream, create, connect, and overcome.

The reader discovers that the boundaries and beliefs that appear to separate us as individuals and groups are an illusion and that when we look deeper, we will see the commonalities we all share. In his books, the heroes sacrifice their self-interest for the good of all.

DiMartino is the co-creator of the award-winning animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: Resolve to make YOUR year for making--and achieving--writing goals! Get practical hands-on tools from Megan so that you have a manageable list of to-dos to turn inspiration into achievement! She writes in the genres of romance, mainstream and speculative fiction.

Learn more about her at www. Set in on a sweltering tobacco farm in the town of Truevine, Virginia, we meet George and Willie Muse, two little African-American boys born to a sharecropper family. They caught the eye of a circus man because they were albinos and he thought they would make a great circus attraction for his freak show.

Luring the 6 and 9 year old boys away with the promise of candy, the boys became star attractions, though cruelly exploited. Beth Macy is also the author of Factory Man. Her articles have appeared in national magazines and the Roanoke Times, where her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards. At the Dayton Metro Library; E. Third Street, in downtown Dayton.

It is set in s Colorado and explores the idea of inner darkness through three members of the Soria family who perform miracles for pilgrims to their small town of Bicho Raro. Join Kate Geiselman, published essayist and Sinclair Community College creative writing professor, for tips on how to write compelling personal essays--and find the editors and readers who want to read them!

Sara will be introducing Follow Me , which trails the Amateurs girls as they stalk down a twisted path — one crafted by a brilliant killer. With a flawless mix of mystery, suspense, and romance, we follow Seneca, Maddox, Aerin, and Madison to the beach to solve a twisty kidnapping. This book is part of the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

We follow a healer who cannot be healed and a soldier shattered by war on a high-stakes mission to spy on the Empire in a quest to uncover a deadly secret. The nuanced characters have a sizzling chemistry and find themselves faced with a heartrending ethical dilemma. Livia has also written Midnight Thief. In it, Stone Barrington gets entangled in the intricate and rarefied art business. It will take a man of his careful discernment and well-honed instincts to get to the truth without ruffling the wrong feathers….

Stuart has written more than sixty novels and 50 hardcover bestsellers.


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Follow him along the iconic trail and learn of his humorous and sometimes frightening adventures with bears, bugs, blisters, captivating characters, skink bed mates, and his most unusual food cravings. He plunged forward through freezing temperatures, driving rain, blinding snow, but often sunny skies, constantly buoyed by the knowledge that his walk was dedicated to his brother who has cerebral palsy and lives in a Sunshine Community. Come meet this experienced hiker, especially if you have been hankering to walk the Appalachian Trail, or at least part of it. He can give you lots of tips.

An Astronaut Photographs the World. He has spent more than days in space and taken more photographs of Earth from above than anyone else. In this gorgeous and inspiring new book filled with stories of his time in space, he shares his photographs of our planet and makes us aware of the vastness that surrounds it.

He assumed command of the International Space Station in March , and has spent over 7 months there. He has a unique perspective about the earth because of the many photographs he has taken showing its splendor. You can learn more about him at Terryvirts. Two Catch a Thief. Two Catch a Thief, Stick Cat and her incomparable sidekick Edith try to catch a thief in the third hilarious book in this series.

In it, we meet Sophie, Agatha, Tedros, and the other students as they begin a new era in the Endless Woods — The Camelot Years — where Evers and Nevers alike must move beyond the bounds of school and into the biggest, boldest adventures of their lives. The students at the School for Good and Evil thought they had found their final Ever After when they vanquished the malevolent School Master.

Now on their required fourth year quests, the students face obstacles both dangerous and unpredictable, and the stakes are high: For their quests, Agatha and Tedros are trying to return Camelot to its former splendor as queen and king. For her quest, Dean Sophie seeks to mold Evil in her own image.

But soon they all feel themselves growing more isolated and alone. When their classmates' quests plunge into chaos, however, someone must lead the charge to save them. If Good and Evil can't find a way to work together, neither side will survive. Since going on-sale in , The School for Good and Evil series has sold more than 1. Soman Chainani is also a screenwriter and his films have been played at more than film festivals around the world.

What is next for them and the revolution? But first, he needs to wipe out the Resistance and capture the remaining members of the Electroclan. Can anything —or anyone—stop the Elgen? Or is this the end? There are more than 30 million copies of his books in print worldwide translated into more than 24 languages. You can visit his website at RichardPaulEvans. The author will sign any new books you purchase at the event and one book from home.

In it we meet Clay, an outstanding quarterback for his school team and his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, who is just like a second father to him. When Coach Walker begins to show side effects of the many concussion he sustained during his playing days, Clay knows that the real victory that year will be to help his coach walk onto the Cowboys Field during a Thanksgiving Day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

Join Erin Flanagan, published fiction writer and Wright State University creative writing professor, for tips on how to brainstorm and "pre-write" characters, plot points and settingpaving the way for a smoother writing process. Her work and legacy live on! This most expansive biography of Virginia Hamilton has been written for middle grade readers, but will be enjoyed by adults also.

Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life. He is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required and closes July 6. Learn the latest advancements in cancer screening, treatment and research from local and national experts.


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Community and clinical sessions will run concurrently during the morning. Check-in and continental breakfast: Event, lunch and booksigning: Only books purchased at the event can be signed; no memorabilia please. We see that Raven Black is bouncing back after her very public divorce from Dillon Black and she has her own growing congregation to prove it. Worse, she begins running her ministry more like a cult, which ultimately gains a huge national following.

Kimberla has sold more than 2. Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture. This is a book of hope. Boucher aims to dispel the presumption that you have to lose it all before you can accurately take stock of your life and make healthy choices. She aims to help people recognize the warning signs of alcoholism. She is a recovering alcoholic who made the choice to quit drinking in her late twenties, before giving birth to her twin sons. Now a registered nurse for over 24 years. She has witnessed the negative effects of alcohol and hopes she can help others to recognize the signs and to change course.

Raising the Bottom received a starred review in the May 1 edition of Library Journal. When the lights go out across Europe, a former hacker and activist must find his way to safety in the darkness, and, in tandem with a U. Everywhere in Europe the electrical grid is collapsing. Who is behind it? How can it be stopped? Thriller writer Lee Child says the book is.. Mark Elsberg is a sought-after dialog partner for industry and politics and a renowned speaker on these topics. She will be introducing her 13th novel, I Found You , a domestic thriller.

In I Found You , we meet Alice Lake who discovers a disoriented man on the beach who has no idea who he is or where he is or what he is doing on this British seaside beach. Despite a warning siren in the back of her mind, Alice invites him into her home to warm up anyway. And thus begins a mystifying journey filled with gripping characters and dark truths. As a long-time UK bestselling author, Lisa is finding a steady following of ravenous readers in the United States. We encourage you to come see what all the excitement is about! He views the Bible not as a singular text stemming from one point of view.

Instead, he considers it a library —a complex and multifaceted collection of poems, letters, and stories compiled over years by over 40 contributors. He looks at it as a compilation written, assembled, and edited by people living in different times, functioning under different circumstances, and possessing differing opinions and agendas.

Time magazine named him one of the Most Influential People in the World. In it, we meet Beck Throckmorton who finds herself living unexpectedly in a small suburban Ohio town with an 83 year old neighbor who has turned out to be her best friend, writing erotica and stewing over the fact that her ex has taken up with her sister. It features Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, who has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the empire. But with a whispered warning, the future Kamet envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path.

This epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. When Annie discovers that the wicked Raiff has kidnapped her beloved new guardian, Annie must win the trust of a riddle-loving dragon and search for a magical bow and arrow to save her guardian. Morris Mole has always been a little different. That difference is a big help when the moles are running low on food. With a little help from an unexpected friend and a lot of digging, Morris learns that even the smallest creatures can do big things.

It also demonstrates how teamwork can benefit everyone…a must-have for all shelves. Visit him at www. Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. He offers citizens practical advice from our past, adapted for the world of today. He posted his 20 Lessons in a Facebook post in November It has since received more than one million views, having been reposted, republished, and retweeted countless times. His lessons have resonated with a world-wide audience.

Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. He is the author of Bloodlands: The Holocaust as History and Warning. It explores the question: What if you could start over? Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, Charles James has now achieved everything he thought he wanted: Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: What will he do with it?

Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. 3 (of 4).—1874-1892 by Graves

Each of his more than 30 novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 30 million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than 24 languages. Cyclone is the name of a roller coaster in the world famous Coney Island amusement park. Doreen Cronin has written several picture books for young readers: Line numbers beginning at America Divided or United. The other path is the one America has been down before. It is at times steep, but it is solid. It is the same path our forebears took together. John Kasich is in his second term as Ohio governor.

Before that, he served nine terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives from to David will be performing on stage at the theatre with his signature storytelling program, as only he can do! He will be autographing books after the show. Get your tickets at TicketCenterStage. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend imagination and history, Iles illuminates the brutal story of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited.

The series illuminates a brutally searing period in our Southern civil rights history that resonates even today. April is National Poetry Month. Come celebrate with us and create a poem! Great for poets and writers of all types--challenge your creativity and learn some techniques to enhance your writing craft!

You can learn more about Jamey at www. So their input along with your input will make this a very valuable discussion. Chester is a lovable dog who did not pass the service dog test, but he still longs to be a service dog. Reminiscent of Because of Winn-Dixie, Shiloh , and Old Yeller , Chester and Gus explores the extraordinary friendship between a child and a dog but with a poignant and modern twist.

Cammie McGovern is one of the founders of Whole Children, a resource center that runs after-school classes and programs for children with special needs. This universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible—until the discovery of The Flow. That is an extra-dimensional field that can be accessed at certain points in space-time that transport humans to other worlds around other stars.

The Flow is eternal—but it is not static. It changes, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. At age 52, torn between duty and love, she agonized for months before deciding to leave Dayton and her brother Orville Wilbur had already died and move to Kansas City to marry Henry Haskell. This decision caused a huge rift between Orville and Katharine.

Please join us for an interesting discussion at Wright Memorial Library. Hers is quite a story…actually a triumph! As a result of surviving childhood bone cancer twice, Marsha endured long-term side effects, including the amputation of her lower left leg, the loss of her bladder and kidneys, congestive heart failure, a kidney transplant, and scars galore.

A rebel to the core, her defiance in the face of disease, doctors, establishment, and anyone who would steal her joy or life force, offers moments of profound depth and humor. There is no pity in her words, but rather they are an encouragement to people to live with an abundantly hopeful spirit that infuses life with purpose, appreciation, and contentment. She lives in Dayton, Ohio.

Songs and crafts will be part of the fun! The program will be in the Performing Arts Center behind the school. Doors open at 6: The event is free. Seats are first-come, first-serve. D will discuss her book, Unselfie: Why do studies show that kids are less happy and more stressed than in past generations despite our love? Why is peer cruelty increasing and bullying starting at younger ages? And what can parents and educators do about it? As an internationally recognized expert and author on children, teens, parenting, bullying and moral development, Dr.

Borba addresses these issues head-on and provides tools parents need to teach their children empathy — and explains why caring for others is actually an essential life skill. She served as a consultant to hundreds of schools, parent organizations, and corporations on bullying prevention. It is one of the most important craft tools for fiction and nonfiction writers. Learn how to use it effectively to create compelling fiction and engage readers! Learn more about Martha at www. A Cajun Red Riding Hood. Songs and a craft will be part of the fun. Songs and a craft will be part of the fun!

Come for an interactive storytime, songs, and crafts with our own Miss Mary. And as a special treat….. Yes, really, the lovable cat himself will be here! The theme for this event is Beyond the Reach of Sleep. Performing original work, each writer will present poetry, short stories, or who knows what. Here is your chance to hear some talented regional writers as they showcase their work, in person, to entertain and enlighten. We are having a special Kids Storytime featuring our own Miss Mary reading favorite picture books, singing songs, and helping the kids make crafts.

We'll have a surprise for them also! All across America today schools, libraries, bookstores, and families everywhere are celebrating the love of reading. The Great Big Boom. When we last saw Hilo, DJ, and Gina in book 2, Gina had been sucked into a mysterious portal to who knows where! Will there be danger? Will there be amazing surprises? Will Gina end up being the one to save them? Will they make it back to Earth before the portal closes again? You can get your HILO books signed by both of them! It has lots of slapstick humor with an appealing dose of friendship, acceptance, and adventure.

She helps young people discover there is science behind absolutely everything — including burps, earwax, and boogers. The book is an especially great tool to intrigue the kids who perhaps are not too keen on science yet. With it, budding scientists will perform real science with ick- speriments think Ooze Olympics and Stinky Burp Factory , build or craft something with ick -tivities, and investigate nature and the wilds of their home with ick -splorations.

Whether in a kitchen, a classroom, or in the backyard, Oh,Ick! Trust no one with anything — especially in Amberlough City. She has been a professional fire performer, belly dancer, and has knowledge of aerial acrobatics and burlesque, which helped her create the decadent night life of Amberlough. He plunges the reader into a frightening and fascinating world that lies somewhere between dreams and reality.

This mesmerizing story tells us of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night, and the mysteries that linger in her wake. Her children are left to agonize over what happened to her. She has a history of sleepwalking, often out into the night alone, and on one occasion she was found on the Gale River bridge and thankfully pulled back before she did herself harm.

Did she actually complete a jump this time? And strangely, the detective investigating the case, seems to know too much about their mother. How do they get to the truth? His work has been translated into more than 30 languages and three of his books have become movies. You can visit him at www. We meet year old Elric, who is a shepherd, and his year old sister, Wynn. Wynn had been born with developmental delays, and so the village folk determined she must be a changling left by the evil fairies to cause havoc in their village. According to them, she must be abandoned in the woods.

However the mother and baby secretly leave the village and live alone for eleven years in a hut that was filled with their laughter and song. As they go on this quest they encounter many difficulties and dangers, but Wynn always sees good in their circumstances, maybe because she is guided by a mysterious song taught to her by her mother that promises to lead her to a place beyond a silver gate where she will find acceptance, safety, and happiness.

Learn tips and best practices for using Point of View to enhance your stories, novels, essays, memoirs and other works and connect with your readers! Thinking no one is reading it, a blogger who calls herself LBH writes about her most personal feelings, especially her overwhelming loneliness. Little does she know that Alex Bartlett is reading her blog and is determined to find her, hoping to find healing for his broken heart.

He determines through clues on her blog that she lives in a small town in Utah. He makes it his mission to find her. Can he do it? What will the outcome be? Richard Paul Evans began his novel writing career with the extraordinarily successful The Christmas Box. That, and every book since then , has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 17 million copies of his books in print worldwide. The session is designed to help writers--whether already published or not-yet-published--figure out the best way to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter, blogs, readings, and other tools to build readership and an audience.

Ryan is the author of "Beyond the Horizon" and "Ghosts of the Desert. Learn more about Antioch Writers' Workshop at www. Autograph line numbers beginning at 3: He has a talent for making the reading of history appealing and exciting. When Thomas Jefferson became president in , America faced a crisis. They would confiscate any goods that were being transported and either demand ransom for the American sailors or force them into slavery.

Jefferson took a stand, and sent the U. Kilmeade has also co-authored George Washington's Secret Six: He has appeared in such films as Spider-Man 2, Spy Kids: It harkens back to the scorching hot summer of in Breathed, Ohio, when young Fielding Bliss makes the acquaintance of a bruised and tattered year-old boy, Sal, who claims to be the devil himself. Fielding brings him home where he is welcomed into the Bliss family. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater town forever.

Booklist says it is "an ambitious novel that will invite thought and surely spark discussion. We got word October 27 that Stuart Woods has the flu and has to cancel his tour. He hopes to reschedule in spring But everything is not as it seems, when the client reveals the true nature—and value—of his recent turn of fortune. Stuart Woods is the author of more than sixty books. He began his novel writing career with Chiefs, his debut in , which won the Edgar Award. He is also an avid sailor and pilot. She had never seen an angry alien, a bizarre bigfoot, or a creepy clown……………..

Told with clever, colorful illustrations, we learn about her transformation into Bad Kitty. Bring your camera if you'd like a photo with her! It is the fictional telling of Katharine Wright and Henry J. We are made aware of her vibrant, outgoing personality that made her indispensable to her renowned yet socially shy brothers. It's fun, it's challenging, and it's rewarding. Come join in and get encouragement from other writers. Eleven year old P. Wilkie has grown up at a wacky motel known as the Wonderland, a downtrodden Florida beach motel his granddad Walt Disney opened the year before that other Walt Disney opened his famous resort just a half hour away.

Could they really be the infamous jewel thieves P. Fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny, this new illustrated series is a romping adventure sure to delight young readers. Preceding David's talk, at 1: Between the two speakers, we will learn much about our flying friends. David Sibley is the author and illustrator of the series of successful nature guides that bear his name. The other books in the series are Chain and Forge. As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon have narrowly escaped Valley Force — but their relief is short-lived.

Before long they are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. It is a tale of young people working under miserable conditions who take a stand — and press back — towards a better life. Best friends Colin and Ty live one day at a time working long, grueling hours for pennies at the Small Parts factory, attaching fuses to bombs and manufacturing weapons.

When they are worked to the bone, they seek shelter where they can find it, and do it all over again the next day. Something dramatic happens and they see a chance to transform their lives. The author presents a fascinating and frightening vision of a near-future with a thought-provoking take on political issues. She lives with her husband in Cincinnati.

Two other young adult author friends of Kristen Simmons will also be at the event; Mindee Arnett and Natalie Richards. They will be happy to discuss and sign their books also. In it, we find that Veronica has been removed and the witch of Doon is now on the throne; Jamie is believed dead; and Duncan and Mackenna are trapped in Alloway. Veronica now has no choice but to put her grief aside and prepare her remaining followers for the impending battle against the false queen and her forces.

But while on an undercover mission to steal a powerful elixir from the castle, Veronica discovers Prince Duncan, her true love, may actually be alive. With his help, along with Jamie, Mackenna and Veronica, will they have what it will take to save the Kingdom of Doon? Other books in the series include: Doon, Shades of Doon , and Destined for Doon. Lorie Langdon will also debut her stand-along young adult novel, Gilt Hollow.

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Hoping for answers, Niklas takes an ancient key, left by his mother, and he and his talking lynx travel to a different realm that is populated by animals who are in danger as well. What can Niklas and his lynx do to save the animal realm—and their own? It was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year and is an international bestseller.

Fall of Hades , the next-to-last book in the Michael Vey series. Excitement builds as Michael Vey and his electric friends realize they have to eliminate the source of money that Elgen is using to finance their dastardly plans. That means capturing the boat that serves as their floating treasury. Each of his more than 25 novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 20 million copies of his book in print worldwide; translated into more than 24 languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards for both his children and his adult books. As they say, Ohio is the heart of it all!

That is never more evident than in the presidential election cycle. Why Ohio Picks the President. Political junkies and other informed citizens alike will find much to glean from the research presented in the book. He is from greater Cleveland and lives in Washington, DC. Two authors are coming to visit! Both of these books are seriously engaging, involving puzzles and mysteries.

In Mark of the Plague , London is threatened with a rapidly spreading deadly disease. Only one apothecary, Christopher Blackthorn, can formulate a remedy, but an assassin threatens his life. Theory of All Small Things. The Initiation , the first book in his middle grade trilogy. We first meet James and Moira when they are sent off to boarding school. It is there that James is paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. But now they are all being sent back. Home is nothing like she expected. Something is terribly wrong. But what is it? You can visit her at HaddixBooks.

Young Piper Dove wants to become the best female detective in Chicago. Starting out, she is hired by former Chicago Stars quarterback Cooper Graham to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. As you would expect, the chemistry between Cooper and Piper is hot, providing zip to a good love story and a lot of laughs. This incredibly imaginative and charming debut novel is about ten-year-old Antoinette, who suffers from a severe form of autism that prevents her from speaking. She and her mother Rose live in rural Kentucky on a flower farm.

Rose, after witnessing a number of unexplainable events involving her daughter, discovers that Antoinette can heal anything and anyone with her touch and change the course of nature. That proves to be very difficult. Stephanie Knipper and her husband adopted their daughter Grace, the first of five children with special needs they adopted from China in The character in her book was modeled after Grace because the author wanted to examine the impact of a disabled child on a family and highlight how we separate ourselves from one another by race, gender, physical ability and a myriad of other categories that mask that we are more alike than different.

As payback, he posts a revealing photo of her online for the entire senior class to see. Now Hadley has a choice to go back to the party and force Ben to delete the photo or raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get. Little does she realize how much trouble that will cause! The fast paced romantic thriller draws on real-life events straight from the news and takes on difficult issues of sexting, teen prescription drug abuse, and cyberbullying.

Have you been wondering what the coloring book craze is all about? Then this program is for you. As part of National Coloring Book Day , we'll be giving away free coloring books while supplies last during this "how to" session. We'll also have coloring pencils for you to use during this program and refreshments will be served. We think teens and adults will enjoy it. Posted by Robyn Morgan at 5: Subtitled How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini, it gives the reader a glorious introduction to the beauty and delicious nature of vegetables.

Set in , on land that divides Georgia from Alabama, farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane, Cob, and Chimney. Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. In it, we meet Norman, an anthropologist who heads to the Utah desert to study the ghost towns and abandoned mines that litter the brutal landscape.

What starts out as a serious educational study turns out to be something extremely different. Norman comes across a group of desert-dwelling outcasts who take him captive and introduce him to a way of life both repulsive and mesmerizing. Posted by Robyn Morgan at 8: One night Della Black and three of her seven children are killed in a horrific fire in their trailer. As the surviving children are caught in the middle of a custody battle between their well-intentioned neighbor and their father and his pregnant mistress, new truths about what really happened the night of the fire, which was declared arson, come to light.

Unexpectedly, Riley Griggs is informed that her island home is being foreclosed and, curiously, her husband is nowhere to be found. Her island friends are no help because they have secrets of their own they want to keep hidden. So Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything. Victoria Theatre N. Please join us for an evening with Stephen King on stage at the historic Victoria Theatre as he talks about his new book, End of Watch. Each ticket guarantees entry to the event, as well as one hardcover edition of End of Watch.

As a special bonus, lucky attendees will randomly receive a pre-signed copy, so we wish you luck! King will not be signing books during the appearance. EVERY ticketholder will receive one copy of the book signed or unsigned at the end of the event. Additional copies of the unsigned new book, along with the two previous books in the series, Mr.

Mercedes and Finders Keepers will also be available for purchase at the event. Due to capacity limits, each person is allowed to purchase up to 4 tickets. Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love. In it, she shares stories of dogs bringing children with disabilities and their families new levels of engagement with the world, independence, and self-worth. In doing this, Greene highlights the remarkable work being done by 4 Paws for Ability, a service-dog-training school headquartered in Xenia, Ohio. The dogs offer love, friendship, health, and happiness to children often isolated by their disabilities.

Through the poignant, inspiring case studies in the book, Greene weaves the latest scientific discoveries about our co-evolution with dogs and about the cognitive and emotional capacities of our four-legged friends. Melissa Fay Greene is the author of five books of nonfiction: Welcome to Wonderland's prestigious Millinery Academy: With all that to contend with, not to mention following in his popular older brother's footsteps, for Hatter Madigan getting through Imagination Class seems impossible already.

When students begin behaving strangely throughout the academy, Hatter and his fellow cadets must unlock the mysteries behind the ghosts, and the headmaster's suspicious behavior, before the entire student body finds itself possessed. Join Hatter and his fellow cadets on their first adventures in Wonderland. Let's just hope it isn't their last! Posted by Robyn Morgan at 6: Romance, Rolling the Dice and the Road to Reinvention. She is met with an eclectic cast of characters from fame hounds to long distance loves to the occasional celebrity and more than one tabloid mishap.

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor-there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront Main Street is full of them , books Amy's house is full of them , and The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought. A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

Line numbers for this event will be handed out beginning at 6: This is a new book with the return of a great character. Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime. Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy.

Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth. The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance.

Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed. For more information visit www. Posted by Robyn Morgan at 7: This event is also in celebration of Dr. Seuss' Birthday which is on March 2nd. In honor of The Good Dr. Between and , so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall.

But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship. Computers have made the life of a writer much easier while at the same time making things more frustrating in return. Antioch Writers' Workshop wants to help you with the techno-problems. Tech Tools for Writers! They are going to share their skills with different "tech tools" highlighting Scrivener writing software, and pass on how other bits of tech can make the writing process more efficient AND productive.

Nate has a crush on Ruby. And will the annual Mud Bowl be a blast. Lincoln Peirce is the author and creator of the Big Nate character and comic strip which served as the inspiration for many collections, a musical, and this children's book series. Throughout the ages, the Ocean has occasionally rescued young women from drowning. To repay their debt, these young women must serve for years as Sirens, remaining young and beautiful and using their deadly voices to lure strangers into watery graves. To keep her true nature secret, Sirens must never speak to humans.

This attempt at a relationship puts her in danger of the wrath of the Ocean. Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood. In it we meet Kimberly Rossetti, who has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember, and is dreading the holidays alone, signs up for a 9-day writing conference at The Mistletoe Inn.

Another reason is because a famed romance writer will be a guest speaker, and Kimberly has long had a dream to be a published romance author. Zeke, one of the conference attendees shows interest in her and her work. Each of his more than twenty novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 17 million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than 24 languages.

His newest young adult novel is Michael Vey: Evans will sign any of his backlist books at this event. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are working a case involving a missing mother. The two cases intertwine in surprising ways as they come face-to-face with a man with ties to dangerous arms dealers who leave behind a savagely murdered body and enough explosives to blow up the whole neighborhood, with them in it. Between and , five girls were raped and strangled in the Dayton, Ohio area. These crimes were never solved. Forschner became intrigued with the case after discovering that a relative of his had been one of the victims.

Now he takes us into the past, using information he has found through careful research to reconstruct the five crime scenes and theorizes who the murderer was in all the cases. In the era in which these crimes occurred, there were not the tools of investigation we have today, so the crimes were never solved, but Forschner gives us strong clues as to whom the murderer was.

It explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late s. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Two days later, after the concert, Marley left Jamaica not to return for 2 years. The book goes much deeper than this one incident but engages the reader in complex intertwined political and criminal conspiracies stretching from the Caribbean to Manhattan and implicating CIA and drug trafficking operations. The Art of Being Persuasively Correct.

He claims that to survive and flourish on the Right, you must learn how to express non-liberal principles as effectively as possible. He reveals strategies that encourage Rights to discard outrage and out-compassion Lefts so they can argue, influence, and convince their friends, family and foes throughout the election cycle. Make a Reservation by sending an email to Linda Harrison at peaceliterature att.

Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. A booksigning with the authors will follow the program. Books will be available for purchase before and after the program. She finds a note her father had left for her in his shop warning that she is in danger, perhaps because she is heir apparent to the glass shop. Cheryl Hollon and her husband have a small studio behind their home in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

After the autograph line is finished, Jenny will be happy to greet anyone else who has come to meet her. That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. Twice a month, Greg leaves his home in Ohio in a specially outfitted wheel rig bound for the Gulf Coast to rescue dogs and bring them to the Northeast to be adopted. He finds them everywhere; wandering city streets, in remote woodlands and even in dumpsters. On each journey north he has a full load: It's time to get ready for NaNoWriMo! That's the program that encourages people to write a complete novel in the month of November.

Their members will read original pieces centered around the theme of Halloween. The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, and renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage and having him emerge from the box unharmed. But at one performance, something goes terribly wrong and Arden has only one night to convince a small town policeman that she did not murder the man. Angus is not the kind of brownie you eat. Imagine his surprise when a curse sends him from Scotland to the home of Alex and her family in America.

Laughter and misunderstanding abound as he adjusts to his new surroundings! Bruce Coville is the author of books for children and young adults, including My Teacher Is an Alien, a run-away hit. Book 6 of The Unwanteds Series, her middle grade dystopian fantasy series. Every year in Quill year-olds are sorted into categories: Aaron and Alex Stowe are identical twins. Aaron is hopeful of becoming a Wanted, but Alex knows his chances are slim, since he has been caught drawing with a stick in the sand, and therefore considered artistic.

As the story progresses, the twins are separated. You can read more about her at LisaMcMann. After thinking everything was perfect as they settled into life in the Kingdom of Doon, best friends Veronica and Mackenna are unexpectedly thrown out of Doon. They are now confronted with tormentors from their past and they have no way to return to their adopted land.

But even if they could return, their happiness may be short lived: Other books in the series are Doon and Destined for Doon. There will be one more book in the series. S citizens with security clearance saw some or all of the same documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Why did he, and no one else, decide to step forward and take on the risk associated with becoming a whistleblower and then a fugitive? In a way, the book tells two stories: Rall is a nationally syndicated political cartoonist, opinion columnist, graphic novelist and occasional war correspondent.

He is twice the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His political cartoons can be seen regularly in the Dayton City Paper. Scalzi is one of the most popular SF authors to emerge in the last decade. He and his family live in Ohio. The novel gets its inspiration from the legendary Texas Rangers, the elite law enforcement agency — with state-wide jurisdiction, who can begin or join any investigation whether they are invited or not.

In this story, one of the Rangers, Crawford Hunt, finds himself in court over a custody matter involving his daughter when a gunman erupts into the courtroom and Crawford reacts instinctually to that danger………causing more trouble for himself, his daughter, and Judge Holly Spencer, for whom he is experiencing a growing attraction. Sandra will be able to sign any new books you purchase at the event and 2 books you bring from home. Pictures will be permitted. Two authors of Young Adult fiction will visit tonight: Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the consort kill millions of people. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice! Lady Georgiana has been asked to come stay at Kensington Palace to calm the pre-wedding jitters of Princess Marina, who is set to marry Prince George, youngest son of George V.

Georgie is a bit skeptical about the whole thing since she knows that George has a history of frequent love affairs, not a desirable trait in a soon-to-be-husband. Is it possible that everything Georgie believed about her own love life is a pack of lies? As Georgie is uncovering facts about Kiki's murder, she's also discovering unsavory things about Darcy. The average shot is only 3. Moreover, television offers viewers a variety of subject matter, requires minimal skills to comprehend it, and is largely aimed at emotional gratification.

American television, in other words, is devoted entirely to supplying its audience with entertainment. Despite differences, there is agreement here that, in espousing the LOP values of popular entertainment, American television, with rare programming exceptions, has eschewed the intellect and amused through a relatively superficial emotional engagement. Thus it would be very surprising if all programming aspired to a Reithian high seriousness.

Assuming that informative and educative programmes have a value where they do appear, too little has been established critically about the other pleasures television might generate for viewers, not all of which are mindless. Shifting Foundation; Altered Viewpoints In the late s and early s, however, critical discourse on quality TV drama has been dominated by the celebration of American quality TV. Wilcox Fighting the Forces: Thus the first point of change to note is that American quality TV is currently dominating the discourse and, given the sketch above, an explanation for this apparent turnaround is needed.

It is not the first time that one television culture has been per- ceived to be better than the other. In the late s and s, for example, British television was highly rated in America. Beyond mere fashion, underlying changes have been highly significant, however, in technological, financial, industrial and Quality06ch03 Nelson. First, a matter on which there is broad consensus: Digital technologies in particular have not only produced a higher resolution, more stable image and surround sound for television, but have offered production techniques approximating those of cinema.

The result is a better quality of visual imagery, enhanced by the capacity for sharper editing and digital treatment in post- production. The quality TV product is typically shot on 35mm film or HDTV and, whilst it may not have Hollywood cinema budgets, it is much more highly funded than its television precursors. In addition to a cinematic look, the final television product can be enhanced with special effects by digital treatment. Different film stock super-8mm, 16mm and 35mm , video and computer graphics can be mixed and treated in post-production since they can readily be dropped into digital format.

Whilst technology is never solely determinant of value since other factors are always in play, digital technologies have undoubtedly blurred the boundary between film and television in terms of both production processes and technical quality of product. Thus the former denigration of television in the face of cinema has itself been revalued and established film directors who earlier would not have worked in television, now frequently opt to do so.

Purists may still argue for the distinctiveness of the big screen, cinematic image, and other interest groups may extol the virtues of black-and-white television or the atmospheric qualities of videotape. But commentators today Caldwell ; Lury broadly agree that the improved imagery has fostered an aesthetic dimension in television that approximates the visual aesthetics of cinema. The industry, notably in the form of HBO, takes a similar stance. Advanced digital and satellite technologies have completed the unsettling of the network era Quality06ch03 Nelson.

Multi-channelling has fundamentally shifted the perception of markets away from the mass to micro-cultures. In niche markets, television is no longer simply a regular broadcast medium, but offers appointment viewing on a variety of platforms to busy professionals who select the best entertainment for their limited leisure time. Accelerating through the s, demographic targeting of segments of the market, perhaps small in number but great in wealth, has become the dominant approach.

Select groups feel themselves to be distinctive in culture and thus choose cultural goods of all kinds to affirm their status. Industry economics in a competitive, multi-channel environment happily resonate with a demand for distinctive product by the most desirable demographics, as opposed to LOP for the masses. As Fox market analyst Andrew Fessel recounts: There was a very strong theme of very repetitive complaints about the three networks that indicated to us that if we had innovative programming, if we had programming that focused on particular age groups, if we had programming that pushed the edge.

Fox produced innovative, urban, high-energy alternative programming such as the teen drama 21 Jump Street which discovered Johnny Depp , Beverly Hills and The Simpsons, aimed particularly at capturing the elusive target audience of younger males with a disposable income.

Fox forged a reassessment of quirky, edgy, visually dynamic television and opened up a space for product that had the potential to resonate with the values of modernist cinema. As the marketplace has become increasingly global, and television production companies have been absorbed by vast media conglomerates, the merchandising of ancillary products has become a major part of profit making from and through television.

A significant number of people now use their television monitors to watch DVDs that they have purchased, free from the interruption of advertisements, and thus television companies have been drawn to consider revenue sources beyond spot advertising. Some, such as the subscription channels, bypass advertisers altogether.

Thus, although television is more than ever a commercial medium, the framework of its enterprise has changed, with the result that distinctive programming is required in a highly competitive environment. Whatever exactly quality TV comprises, channels want to be associated with it and, network, cable or subscription, they have rebranded themselves accordingly.

Worldwide, there has been a strong drift away from a public service ethos towards increased privatisation and commercialism see Steemers British broadcasting should move towards a sophisticated market system based on consumer sovereignty. That is a system which recognizes that viewers and listeners are the best ultimate judges of their own interest which they can best satisfy if they have the option of purchasing the broadcasting services they require from as many alternative sources of supply as possible Home Office De-regulation and increased exposure to the global marketplace might be thought to instigate a drift away from the serious to the entertaining, at worst invoking again the lowest common denominator thesis in television discourse.

There has been much talk of the dumbing-down of television in this context but, in respect of TV drama production, this discourse is scarcely sustainable since both quality and variety of provision have increased over a range of formats. Thus technology, industrial change, multi-channelling and the fragmentation of the audience have together yielded a range of fundamental industry changes, including a virtual inversion of at least the claims to quality that television now makes of itself.

Generic hybridity has gone beyond a device to aggregate different target groups to build an audience see Nelson to be used creatively, with one genre consciously played against another. Six Feet Under, particularly in season one, deployed strategies derived from surrealist exploration of dreams, death and the macabre, dislocating comfortable viewing positions by playing with time and space.

In short, some HBO Premium output has consciously associated itself not just with film but also with modernist cinema see Feuer, Chapter 11 in this book. Modernist value criteria may thus again be in play, but it is a matter of judgement as to whether the devices used have been appropriated into mainstream television or whether Quality06ch03 Nelson.

It is both possible and helpful to identify through analysis the qualities that TV dramas manifest. The quality of such dramas needs to be judged in terms of aesthetic and production values appropriate to the dramatic mode. Since television fictions in all parts of the industry function in the new TVIII context, it may be reasonable to say that even the more standard fare has raised its production values, althought it may not achieve an individualist, authorial signature.

At the upper end of this spectrum, The West Wing may be a case in point: Some TV drama is, of its nature, highly expensive to produce. Period drama, for example, requiring sumptuous sets consonant with its bourgeois materialist setting, has never been cheap but increasingly requires co-production funding to achieve contemporary standards. Contrastingly, the aesthetics of a documentary drama exploring with a hand-held camera the least attractive aspects of policing on a downtown sink estate e.

The Cops needs to be judged against criteria of local resonance. But the drive for episodic narrative closure, though its traces remain, is not as strong as in the past. Indeed, the increased teleliteracy see Bianculli of viewers corresponds with increasingly oblique narrative modes. Experience of the medium allows people to infer very quickly what in the past would need exposition, and contemporary TV drama is accordingly fast paced and understated.

In respect of questions of worth, the emphasis on the visual as opposed to the verbal-aural in television has inaugurated a new mode of criticism in younger scholars evaluating television in terms of visual aesthetics, previously reserved for cinema texts. Whilst, then, in videographic modes from CNN to MTV, surpluses of overlaid visual information may constitute a visual aesthetic of excess in its own right, the cinematic use of visuals affords a range of visual styles and looks that are appropriate to different TV fictions.

In an era where style is much more important than in the past, the aesthetic worth of television fictions has not only enhanced viewing pleasure but has also afforded an arena for critical debate that would not previously have made sense. These circulate around an economy of the pleasure principle and social constraints upon it, which in industrial societies are located typically in a work ethic it is no coincidence that Lord Reith came from a Calvinist background. Over time, however, critical traditions such as the work of Michel Foucault developed to deconstruct dominant social forces and bring to light the fact that power, rather than unquestionable measures of moral worth, was operating to enforce these judgements.

As Michael Williams recognises, new, sceptical ideas today: At the same time, increasing affluence in the Western culture of consumer individualism has promoted immediate over deferred gratifications. The basis for common adherence to any specific social ethic has accordingly become less secure. In its extreme formulation, postmodern relativism gives free rein to pleasure, since there can be no consensus on any constraining ethical imperative.

In the age-old conflict between consumer individualism and public service, then, the former has gained the upper hand in contemporary culture. Thus the visual pleasures of television become a legitimate domain for consideration from several points of view and, as noted, even the excesses of visual spectacle have been equally valorised and denigrated in the process of change. Visually narrated TV fictions might now be taken as valuable in themselves Quality06ch03 Nelson. That those products in TVIII aspiring to cinema are regarded as the most prestigious has an impact on institutional infrastructures and policy.

Policy makers looked to respond through further de-regulation in the Broadcasting Act, which relaxed foreign ownership rules and enabled a merger of Granada and Carlton to form a large Independent Television company ITV. Some believe it is intended that one of the global media conglomerates might buy it and by this means afford British product entry into international markets. Modern critical traditions that have explored the multi-accentuality of signs e. Education today is seen more as a process of negotiation than a reception of tablets of stone from on high.

As my narrative indicates, I take evaluation to be a matter of a social and institutional process in which individual judgements are informed by a range of factors. To answer this question fully requires detailed analysis beyond the scope of this chapter. It would have to take account of the fact that all identifiable national and perhaps regional cultures are known to prefer television reflecting their indigenous circumstances see Steemers The pleasures of American culture as mediated through its high-end, cinematic TV dramas would need to be analysed from a range of viewpoints in the various countries that buy in the series.

Though this is a complex matter to unravel, particularly in plural national cultures, it is unlikely that any given product, no matter how marked its global visibility, could satisfy all local needs. Thus, in my account, it would be an open narrative of the broad cultural and institutional context of the evaluation and the valuer, rather than a closed resolution answering the question of worth for all time. Now having watched the antics of Ozzie Nelson and Chester A. To counter this, television was regularly promoted as a toy for men or the family more generally. Most often, Spigel points out, women were portrayed as isolated from the group watching television Television complicated the traditional gender order, in part because it promised to bring the outside world home: Hutchinson, quoted in Spigel But for women, I would like to argue, television may have defied its protectionist underpinnings in the upcoming decades — and fulfilled its mission better than maybe it ever intended to — becoming not merely a window on the world for women, but a door to it.

Among the questions considered are: Must television reflect reality in order to be effective, or can fantasy inspire politics as well? And, finally, who decides what is and what is not a quality show? By the s, American women hardly needed more incentives to stay within the home. The fact that nearly two-thirds of speaking characters on s primetime shows were male, and that in the s only two of the top 10 shows even featured regular female characters did not help Faludi Nevertheless, even in these early years, a few shows did manage to speak to women and their imposed isolation.

Unlike the Marilyn Monroes and the Liz Taylors, these television stars were viewed as more authentic, more natural than the unreachable starlets of the silver screen 40— Of course, this was also a marketing tool of advertisers, who wanted television stars to look normal, because no one would buy the idea that Marilyn scrubbed the back of toilets At the time, 90 per cent of voice-overs were male and so were 70 per cent of characters Douglas Nevertheless, with social movements well underway, people were becoming used to seeing serious events — from the McCarthy hearings to the Vietnam War — play out on the television Women were also becoming more media savvy.

At the time, 75 per cent of commercials were aimed at helping women keep their houses, their clothes and their bodies clean ibid. Consequently, during the s, American television shows became increasingly interested in their own relevance. While masculinity was explored in some of the great American films of the period, like The Deer Hunter, Easy Rider, Deliverance and Apocalypse Now, television became focused on the changing role of women No one helped this along more than writer and producer Norman Lear, who became well known in the s for his no-nonsense, progressive brand of social realism.

Courting controversy, Lear believed that television — which reached 98 per cent of people in — could influence society if one were not afraid to unveil the bigotry, sexism and other prejudices of everyday life. The sitcom, which reached up to 50 million people a week, covered a number of racy female issues, including breast cancer, rape and even menopause. The s was a time of tremendous progress for American women. In one decade they gained the right to abortion, to credit, to no-fault divorce, to classified ads that were not sexually segregated.

At their best, television shows made these laws come alive. It would be three more years before Congress would pass the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that would have outlawed this. These independent, political shows — precursors, if you will, to quality television today — also served a didactic purpose. But she is not a complete pushover. She stands up to leave: It is not often that a sitcom tells you of a civil right you did not know you had. Another example comes from the most explicitly feminist show of the s, Maude, which, like All in the Family, was produced by Norman Lear.

The highly rated series featured Maude Findlay Beatrice Arthur , the first divorced woman three times over on a television comedy. In addition to complaining about the archaic birth control available to women not even to mention men , the episode personalises what would be a key element of Roe v. But again the purpose of the episode is largely pedagogical. While allowed in certain states, abortion was not legal throughout the USA when the show aired. So, in pre-Roe v. None of this is to say that the political shows of the s were perfect.

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The shows were also controversial. Enter, stage right, Ronald Reagan. His wife, Claire Hanks Huxtable Phylicia Rashad , was a poster woman for the have-it-all lifestyle — a successful lawyer and mother of five. As Susan Faludi points out, by the mids, gone were all the smart, sassy, independent TV women of the previous decade: In both the s and s, television spoke to the political climate of the day, with one important distinction: Women were even absent from their normal stomping ground, the sitcom, with two-thirds of comedies about single-parent households run by fathers or male guardians, though outside TV Land 89 per cent of single parents were mothers Far from reality, according to Faludi, bogus and sexist producers often thought up these bogus plots.

But, despite very high ratings the show was constantly pressured by male network executives to temper its tone As in the s and s, we see women being squeezed out of television, only this time they came back fighting. When CBS cancelled Cagney and Lacey in , despite high ratings, tens of thousands of letters poured in from angry fans Faludi So many, in fact, that the network put the show back on the air. It was not only fans that took this protective stance, but a handful of female writers and producers as well. In her book, Primetime Feminism, Bonnie Dow argues that Designing Women, which was created and written primarily by women, was another rare show of the s that regularly defended feminist views.

What we see in Designing Women, and increasingly in the late s and s in other shows like Roseanne, Grace Under Fire and Ellen, are women viewing television as a site of resistance against the dominant conservative cultural climate Consequently, as Dow proves, these shows became increasingly topical. No television series at the time had a more direct affect on politics than Murphy Brown.

Starring Candice Bergen as Murphy, a single, high-powered television anchor, the series initiated a firestorm of controversy when it featured Murphy having a child out of wedlock. In a country where millions of children grow up in nontraditional families. This controversy, I would argue, set off a string of series in the s about non-traditional families, especially ones about older single friends living together, as in Friends and Sex and the City. And they have a point. Perhaps because they have lacked other political outlets, television has often created an alternative space for women to discuss the issues that affect them most.

This was very apparent in the s, when sitcoms became one of the ways progressives could promote their causes. In the s and s, television also found ways to circumvent and even fight the dominant cultural and political trends of the day. For many women, it seemed, television characters understood them better than top executives or elected representatives.

Of course, television has a long way to go, I need only reference The Bachelor, in which 25 single women go head-to-head over some gorgeous idiot. But, in general, the common accusation in American culture that television — and especially sitcoms — represents the lowest of low culture is overstated.

We might even want to consider how the term quality TV may contain a gendered aspect to it. Perhaps not here, but, even in my progressive, semi-intellectual circles, it is not easy Quality07ch04 Sayeau. Instead of simply dismissing these shows, or their more progressive elements, a more critical question would be ask why — from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Maude to Sex and the City — has society only been allowed to watch women grow while it has laughed at them?

Though we have focused on them less, there are many such shows. As TV Guide suggested back in , snickering at men is no laughing matter — at least to the men in power. But to the women laughing and to those watching them laugh, at their beaux, at social expectations, even at their own failings; this can be liberating. Television enables this subversion. Unlike most relationships, this device gives her complete control, pausing, rewinding, taping weeks in advance. She understands we think it is funny and silly of her, but smart viewers know it is more than that.

Remember that the only thing her nosy housekeeper, Magda Lynn Cohen , ever breaks are her TiVo and her other dear device — as if television and vibrators equally threatened the social order. Of course, Miranda eventually returns to the real world and finds her true love, Steve Brady David Eigenberg.

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But, significantly I think, it is only after he fixes her TiVo that she knows for sure that he is a keeper, as if to say, if you really love the woman, you have to love her TV. What does she think she is doing? He spits in her face. Two body blows to the abdomen fix the pregnancy. A fist slammed into her youthful innocence, overpowering her fragility.

His sadism climaxes into a violent orgy of punches, smashing her head repeatedly against the crash barrier. Larry must think fast: He shrugs — he did his best. Michael York chips in. His clipped British tones incongruously enunciate a foul litany: Another awkward moment is defused when a respectable older male diner chimes in.

Raucous laughter and scatological language create a bawdy carnivalesque atmosphere before the diners toast the success of the restaurant. And a good time is had by all at the end of season three of Curb Your Enthusiasm. But when did incessant profanity and rampant misogynistic violence against a young pregnant stripper pass for the finest in what US television has to offer?

How do sequences, like the ones described above, inscribe, and bring into focus, broadcasting practices and policy as well as broader cultural discourses about what is permissible? And how does this pushing the limits of representation elevate the status of HBO as a producer of quality television? This chapter aims to address such questions, an intervention designed to illustrate the manner in which courting controversy has been institutionalised by HBO, embedded in and through its original programming, as a distinctive feature of its cultural cachet, its quality brand label and until recently its leading market position.

Attempts to police broadcasting standards, to patrol television screens for obscenities, indecencies and profanities, incite a discourse of the illicit. The fact that America has experienced a seismic political and religious lurch to the right — shaped by the rise to prominence of the fundamentalist Christian right with its pro-life, pro-family, anti-gay agenda — means the sanctity of heterosexual sexual relations and moralistic conservative family values remain high on the political agenda as well as dominating the cultural public sphere.

Brent Bozell, founder and president of the PTC since , writes thus: According to such views, morality is not about individual choice, but is rather a matter of public concern and should be subject to endless surveillance and regulation on the grounds that any breach of morality constitutes an offence against the community. If, as Michel Foucault describes, knowing involves gaining mastery, then the attempt to make known transgressions is clearly an exercise of power. Public decency groups exercise power over the things they keep watch over, through unremitting observation and exhaustive inquisition, sensitive to any violation, drawing attention to peculiarities and describing them in intimate detail.

Note, for example, how Bozell brings the illicit into discourse as he Quality08ch05 McCabe. The attempt to expunge indecency from the airwaves justifies the exhaustive nature of the endeavour to monitor and keep the illicit in view. James Poniewozik, reporting on how the PTC brings to light broadcasting transgressions, describes how PTC analysts explicitly speak about and incessantly accrue evidence of violations in decency guidelines.

Taping all of primetime network television as well as hours of cable, they archive everything in the entertainment tracking system ETS , which by contained more than , hours of programming. With it, the group can detect patterns of sleaze and curses and spotlight advertisers who buy on naughty shows. It is a meticulously compiled, cross-referenced, multimegabyte. Making accessible what is limited by television scheduling and bringing it into the public realm means that the offence can be viewed at any time day or night.

Nothing is meant to elude the moralistic dictum; instead, exhaustively searching out broadcasting indecencies, as a counter-effect, stimulates and proliferates an intensification of the illicit in speech and representation. Because HBO is free from commercials, advertisers threatening to pull lucrative dollars do not have to be placated.

Even conservative campaign groups or those from the religious right remain reticent, accepting the fact that HBO is only available to those viewers willing to pay for the premium cable service. The station makes a virtue of its autonomy from the constraints and restrictions limiting network television. Institutional power comes from asserting pleasure in scandalising and flouting, from pushing the boundaries by broadcasting profanity, brutal violence and explicit sex scenes not seen until recently elsewhere.

In a country seemingly becoming ever more sensitive to moral violations, and a broadcast network increasingly subject to nervous censors, subscription channel HBO with its original programming introduced in with Oz has a licence to produce edgier drama. Doing things differently, setting itself against what is prohibited on network television, emerges as a crucial institutional strategy for HBO.

Writers, producers and directors repeatedly talk about the creative freedoms enjoyed at the company. And veteran television writer David Chase, the maestro behind HBO phenomenon The Sopranos, never fails to vocalise his frustrations with the networks and underscore that the mobster hit series could have only achieved success on a channel like HBO: This suggests that the freedom granted at HBO goes beyond writing brutal violence and lurid language.

Latitude to tell stories differently, creative personnel given the autonomy to work with minimal interference and without having to compromise have become the HBO trademark: Yet this notion of autonomy is not random but about a continual struggle for institutional survival and market leadership. It is an unceasing interaction between cultural and commercial values; it is as much a systematic enterprise in defining broadcasting and creative freedoms as it is about producing a unique televisual product in the process of asserting a distinct brand identity and niche orientation.

Contentious subject matter and edgy scripts containing adult themes are predicated on risk-taking that strains broadcasting limits. The perceived cachet of HBO as a haven for creative integrity is constantly being reasserted, through incessant self-promotion and brand equity, waged in aggressive marketing campaigns — and in particular through its original programming — initiating diversity and bucking convention that breaks the rules in terms of language, content and representation. Evoking the powerful and wealthy Florentine merchant family who sponsored a revolution in art is a bold statement indeed.

It suggests nonetheless that HBO takes great care to be seen — but more importantly insists we never forget to think about the company — as benefactors of a television revolution that is experimental and searching out the new. Original programming like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Six Feet Under is not so much changing television as it is saying something important about how the institution of television has changed. The year saw the ratification of the Telecommunications Act in Congress. Increasingly, the television industry, supported by Washington, places emphasis on diversity, innovation and competitiveness, a change that makes visible the recent TVIII era driven by, among other things, consumer demand and customer satisfaction Rogers, Epstein and Reeves Paradox rooted in the legislation , as noted by Hilmes, has intensified since and the question of how cable television is classified, understood and in the final instance regulated stands at the heart of an array of discourses, practices and power participating in a mutual — but contentious and conflicted — project of what constitutes the medium.

Evoking ideas of quality in terms of creative risk-taking and artistic integrity are cited as a way of justifying the explicitness of what can be allowed. HBO takes control of the illicit and encloses it within its institutional discourse of quality. What is implied here is an original teleliterary product that places emphasis on smart writing, compelling stories told in an innovative way, high production values and a unique creative vision behind each project. HBO has not invented any new markers for defining quality, and it has doubtless not discovered any new taboos, but it has defined new rules for understanding the above.

To this end HBO has spawned new forms of television culture and subjectivity, new opportunities for transformation in creative practices and business strategies. Yet, to pronounce the new is no easy matter; what HBO did with its original programming proved sufficiently groundbreaking that at first the cable network accounted for its existence and took charge of the illicit as something to be inserted into a system of values, institutionally managed and regulated.

Named the most profane Western in the history of the genre, Deadwood has become notorious for its unprecedented use of bad language. He suggests that obscenity not only panders to the HBO crowd but is also gratuitous, deliberately included only because of the latitude enjoyed by those who have for years worked within the restrictions of broadcast network. Blum has a point. But with no commercials to interrupt speech, no FCC to censor language, and an institutional status that places the channel somehow beyond the reach of censorial power and industrial regulation, HBO stakes its reputation on consciously violating codes policing the illicit.

The illicit is implanted in the original programming philosophy and made intelligible in each original Quality08ch05 McCabe. So we find HBO, to a certain extent, disturbing established rules, mindful that the channel knows it is being subversive, while voicing its determination to change television fiction and how it is made. C19 and, of course, entrenched generic media codes signifying the frontier.

Enclosing the profane in a discourse of historical verisimilitude, and saturating it in literary respectability and highly valued performative traditions, promises to liberate television fiction from the laws governing established creative practices and writing styles. The solemnity with which HBO tells us about how it is challenging cultural taboos while asserting the importance of the creative contribution that it believes it is making to modern television drama is crucial.

A pilot script written by Chase without profanity, nudity and violence was initially developed at the Fox network. Reliance on an original creative vision lying behind each project finds HBO placing a high premium on the kind of authorship associated with more traditional art forms Lavery and Thompson Freedom from the usual preoccupations engrossing broadcast networks, like ratings and advertising revenue, may explain why HBO can afford to be long suffering about the extended breaks between seasons Grego Murder may be committed as a professional necessity in a business where those entering know the deadly generic rules, but how extreme violence crafts the morally complex and utterly compelling New Jersey Quality08ch05 McCabe.

Some of the most shocking violence committed by Tony may ambiguously weave unremorseful brutality with a strict moral code, but it is the role of the interpretative community to take charge of that meaning and make it acceptable that intrigues. E6 — along with other TV critics, cultural commentators and academics — legitimises graphic scenes and puts into discourse a cultural agenda for talking about such matters. Or is it a Chekhov comedy replayed in the profanity littered argot of New Jersey hoodlums?

E6 , does not bear traces of the same old snobbishness. With so much censorial freedom it can Quality08ch05 McCabe. Profanity can be uttered without undue reticence and extreme violence tolerated. Codes regulating the illicit allow for shamelessness and direct transgressions, but HBO seems far from at ease with its ability to redefine the rules governing the rude, the obscene and the lewd.

For a company that prides itself on its original programmes, there is an awful lot of other television within its schedules that it seems reluctant to talk about. Discretion shrouds institutional practice; circumspection rules. Internal regulation is cautious in handling the salacious and gratuitous, and absorbs the illicit into the serious business of making original groundbreaking programmes. This leads us finally to the audience. Strategies for defining and regulating television have long been guided by assumptions about those who are imagined to be watching; HBO is no exception in making these assumptions, endlessly talking about and, in turn, flattering its audience for original programming as professional, college educated and discerning.

Justifying the latitude granted him in terms of the viewers, David Chase talks of trusting the audience over the vicissitudes of broadcasting dictates: The suggestion here is that the HBO audience authorise the illicit and safeguard institutional freedoms to defy established broadcasting regulations, lifting prohibitions and reinvigorating television fiction in the process.

That year NBC sold Leap of Faith, one of its new comedies for the season, as its version of Sex and the City, and its drama series Kingpin, which centred on a brutal drug-lord hero, unashamedly imitated The Sopranos. But cable-standard content does not necessarily translate well on broadcast network; NBC soon fell foul of FCC regulations and the compromises made between executives and programme makers, resulting in the cancellation of both shows after only one season. Even attempts to syndicate a series like The Sopranos on network met with resistance, this time from Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which own the mob drama.

HBO original programmes might smack of revolt and force the industry to rethink what constitutes small-screen fiction, but the mere fact of trying to transform the breakthrough style into a discourse acceptable for broadcast network incites debate on how to manage the new, regulate it and make it useful to the future of the industry.

The premium cable company itself has found it difficult to replicate the earlier success of signature shows like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under, but what it has done with its original programming will be felt throughout the industry for some time to come. The point here is that HBO takes great pains to relate in endless detail how it purposefully uses the illicit to liberate television fiction from established rules and determine different industrial and creative approaches, how the illicit is essential to compelling story-telling, key to creating complex and morally ambivalent protagonists, vital to dramatic verisimilitude and elevating broadcasting standards.

We must continue to take risks. HBO is conscious of defying television convention, adopting a tone with their original programming that makes it obvious that they know they are being openly transgressive. But their constant need to account for the illicit, to incessantly rationalise its use and to enfold subversion in respectability, betrays unease with articulating precisely what that might mean for defining originality.

It finds HBO continually speculating about itself and seeking to rationalise what it does. Such halting logic gives us insight into how HBO emerges as a chronicler of the modern illicit. Government may legislate for broadcast freedoms, and the industry might well initiate policies for encouraging diversity, innovation and competition, but freedom Quality08ch05 McCabe. Modern prudishness demands that HBO take precautions; the subscription cable channel, in turn, seeks to manage the illicit through discrete spaces of distribution with limited availability. But the struggle over how the distinctly new, the original, should be categorised, regulated if at all and valued in the public sphere remains subject to contestation and much intense speculation.

Epstein Out of the convoluted sameness of media coverage of the last presidential election sprang the irreverent and inventive Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Offering biting political satire, these scintillating segments had something droll and amusing to say about almost everything and everyone associated with American politics and the presidential election.

The highly original pieces covered the campaigns, conventions, election night and recounts with flagging and with exceptional insight. Through the momentous weeks of the Presidential Campaigns, Jon Stewart and cohorts provided the kind of cathartic satire that deflates pomposity on an equal opportunity basis.

Somehow this sharp commentary made the real issues more important than ever. Nevertheless, the program applies its satirical, sometimes caustic perspective on the issues of the day, on those engaged with the issues, and on the everyday experiences that will be affected by them. In the context of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart serious, even-handed interviews with significant political figures Quality09ch06 Reeves. The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Daily Show takes a reality- based look at news, trends, pop culture, current events, politics, sports and entertainment with an alternative point of view.

Furthermore, public discourse on quality television is rife with contradictions. Take, for instance, Quality09ch06 Reeves. One has been celebrated for reinventing and reinvigorating the animated series — and condemned for being anti-family by aficionados of the Disney Channel. The discourse on quality, then, is emphatically political. This self-imposed blindness is none other than the denial of excellence. For us, recognising qualitative differences in television texts is not simply about appreciation and celebration; it is also central to grasping the political and economic ramifications of television in the age of digital reproduction.

For instance, acknowledging the excellence of The Daily Show becomes the first step in understanding the economic incentives and enabling political conditions that make such a show possible. Of the many newspaper and magazine articles that have been written on The Daily Show, there seems to be a split between those critics who insist that it is a news programme and those who take Jon Stewart at his word when he says that the show is fake news.

The reality is that The Daily Show is both; it is a postmodern hybrid in both form and content that operates more to reify the distinction between news and entertainment rather than blur that distinction. The hybrid nature of the show is attributable to the hybrid nature of host Jon Stewart.

Sacred Cows

As the anchor, Stewart processes and mediates the stories of the day, and in that sense he functions much as a journalist who selects and comments on news stories would. Stewart can roll his eyes in disgust over the news in Iraq or smile cynically at the arrogance of Donald Rumsfeld, and viewers, as well as the live audience, will acknowledge their position as his. By assuming this everyman role, Stewart earns the trust of his viewers, the same type of trust that older viewers may have once had in former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite.

But at the same time, Stewart also plays the role of comic foil to a cast of fake correspondents who report absurdly on news or personal interest stories, correspondents who essentially are simulacra of the self-important television journalist. In this role of comedic straight man, Stewart is once again positioned as rational and trustworthy, which serves to complement and reinforce his gravitas when he reports or comments on true news.

And since he plays it straight both in his engagement of the news — usually at the top of the show and occasionally during the interview segment — and in the fake correspondent segments, Stewart underscores for viewers that they should distrust and critique the absurdity of real newsmakers in the politico-media establishment, just as he playfully distrusts and critiques the absurdity of his faux reporters. When the conservative Carlson criticised Stewart for asking presidential candidate John Kerry softball questions on The Daily Show, Stewart underscored his disgust by reminding the hosts — and the audience — that Crossfire purports to be a serious news programme while The Daily Show is on Quality09ch06 Reeves.

It is also a prime example of a programme that has helped build the brand of a basic cable network. To make this discussion meaningful, we first briefly venture, once again, into history. The Basic Cable Sector of American Commercial Television In earlier collaborations, we have looked at programming originating on the broadcast and premium cable sectors of popular American television.

In our work on The Sopranos we explore how the first-order commodity relations of the premium cable sector make the production of such a quality television narrative possible. In other words, far from being fringe television, the basic cable sector now represents the heartland of the American television experience in the age of digital reproduction and brand marketing.

Though television will persist in the next Quality09ch06 Reeves. The age of post-television? The age of post-mass-communication? Although the cable television business has a history that reaches back to the late s, it was little more than a common carrier until a series of regulatory and technological developments in the s. In fact, what we recognise today as the basic cable sector of American commercial television is rooted in FCC rules approved in The most significant of these rules allowed cable operators to import distant signals.

So the earliest manifestations of the basic cable sector would take shape as land-bound microwave services that brought the programming of independent UHF stations located in larger cities to rural communities with limited over-the-air viewing choices. He also worked out other partnerships to distribute his signal along a string of expensive microwave towers to cable operators in the rural hill country of southern Georgia and northern Florida, expanding the audience for WTCG into Macon, Columbus and Tallahassee.

In fact, we suggest that satellite-delivered cable television should celebrate two birthdays: Though lauded as a watershed moment in the history of commercial American television, it is important to note that only two cable systems one in Jackson, Mississippi, and the other in Fort Pierce—Vero Beach, Florida were equipped to actually receive the fight live.

Both of these emergent programming sectors depart from the broadcasting paradigm of what we have termed TVI or the network era. And the most significant departures, at least from a political- economy perspective, are in the area of commodity relations. The third parties in this arrangement are, of course, advertisers, who, in a strangely sinister sleight-of-hand, pay broadcasters for delivering audiences, in lots of a thousand, then turn around and pass the costs of this transaction back to those audiences in the form of higher prices for products and services.

Permit us the indulgence of quoting our own work to drive this point home: Clearly, HBO deserves a prominent place in the annals of American media history for its pioneering efforts in introducing first-order commodity relations to the commercial television landscape. Programming free of commercial interruption and uncontaminated by the demands of advertisers — this has been the major selling point for HBO since its inception in Rogers, Epstein and Reeves The costs for subscribing to HBO, then, are not hidden in the nickels and dimes of thousands of consumer transactions.

This is not the case in the basic cable sector, however. Where premium cable operates according to the same commodity relations that govern the popular book publishing and motion picture industries, the basic cable sector, like the magazine and newspaper industries, embraces the political economy of blended first- and second-order commodity relations. In this system, the basic cable sector benefits from two major revenue rivers with several first- order tributaries and second-order streams. One major river, again like the magazine and newspaper industries, takes the form of subscription fees.

Though much more modest than the fees charged by the premium cable services, basic cable services still charge cable Quality09ch06 Reeves. The other major revenue river, of course, is advertising. But by the end of the s a wave of new basic cable networks would deploy a very different strategy.

Rather than market to the masses, the new services would conform to the economic logic of post-Fordism — the logic of niche marketing. In earlier collaborations, we have argued that this shift from mass marketing to niche marketing, in both the broadcast and basic cable sectors of the American television industry, represents nothing less than a new era television history — TVII or the cable era.

In addition to expansions in the service sector most notably, in the communication services industry , the new economic order was marked by acceleration in the pace of product innovations and obsolescence , decline in the power of organised labour, reliance on part-time or temporary work arrangements, deregulation of most industries chief among them the mass media and, perhaps most important, explorations of highly specialised market niches. Though the broadcast networks would also shift from mass marketing to niche marketing in the s and s, it was the booming cable industry that became a veritable incubator for specialised programming services.

For instance, though the ratings for the Weather Channel in any given part of the day were minuscule, over the course of a hour period a large portion of the cable audience would tune into the channel for at least a short period of time. But most of these services were attractive to advertisers because they delivered a narrowly defined demographic group that represented the target market for a niche product or service. The cable boom of the s, though, would be inhibited by a technological bottleneck — the limited channel capacity of coaxial cable.

Because of this, these first entrants in the basic cable sector soon enjoyed a tremendous advantage over new entrants who, by the mids, found themselves in the unenviable position of convincing cable operators that had reached their channel capacity that the new service would generate enough monthly audience appeal to justify dropping an existing service.

New technological developments associated with the age of digital reproduction would gradually eliminate these logjams and make it possible for new, even more specialised, programming services to find a place on the basic cable menu. This brings us finally to Comedy Central. But such is the case with most historical transformations.

For most of the s, Comedy Central was the red-headed stepchild of the basic cable channels. The network was formed in by the merger of two competing channels owned by media giants Time-Warner and Viacom. During the growth of the cable industry in the late s, comedy seemed like a good niche. Both fledgling networks struggled to get into cable systems. In , the Comedy Channel had only 6. The fact that neither channel was a runaway favourite made cable operators even less likely to commit to one or the other.

The combined audience of the two channels was less than 25 per cent of the potential cable audience Clash Like many new cable outlets, both channels started off with a mix of inexpensive original programming and syndicated content. Other re-purposed content, such as brief film clips and taped excerpts from stand-up comedy shows, also played a prominent part. These shows were cheap; much of the content was taken from previously taped specials or earlier stand-up shows, and the cost of taping new comedians in clubs was relatively small.

One early original series was Mystery Science Theater The show was one of the few programmes from the Comedy Channel to survive the merger, and it continued on Comedy Central for five- and-a-half seasons —6. The show, which featured a man and his robot friends riffing on old C-level movies, attracted a devoted and enthusiastic cult fan base, but MST3K as it was known to fans never really helped Comedy Central build their brand. But Comedy Central still had trouble establishing a clear brand identity to market to the cable system operators.

Three key developments in the late s and early s helped the network start to build its brand as the major comedy destination. First, the network began to develop irreverent programming based on politics and topical issues. The network sent comedians to work the conventions as commentators. Most of the coverage focused on the absurdities of the political process, foreshadowing the approach of The Daily Show with Jon Quality09ch06 Reeves. Developed and hosted by comedian Bill Maher, the show presented a freewheeling discussion of the issues of the day by a panel of guests that usually mixed politicians, pundits and entertainers.

The show was successful enough that it moved to ABC in , where it ran until Bootlegs of the cheaply animated card spread through Hollywood like wildfire, and it was an early viral video on the web. The card, which featured a battle between Jesus and Santa for the control of the holiday, set up the basic premise of the cartoon. It focuses on four young boys in a small Colorado town who swear like longshoremen.


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The show is filled with offbeat and irreverent pop culture references, scatological humour and pushes the limits of good taste. South Park premiered in August , and was an immediate hit for Comedy Central. By early the network had extended its original order of 13 episodes to include 20 additional episodes for a second season Richmond Ratings continued to grow. Still, the show reached the fifth most viewers of any cable programme for the week, and remarkably its viewership among 18—year-olds, a key demographic, was higher than its total households, indicating that audiences were congregating to watch the show Hettrick More significant than immediate ratings, South Park brought new subscribers to Comedy Central and encouraged the network to build its brand by developing more original programming.

Until , when E! South Park also generated licensing income. Merchandise sales are important for several reasons. Licensing revenue not only contributes to the bottom line profitability of a programme like South Park, but can also allow a network to enlist fans in the promotion and marketing of the programme itself. On some level, buying products is also likely to increase viewer loyalty; having already committed real capital to demonstrate their television preference, the audience is more likely to continue investing their time in watching the show.

South Park clearly was and is a great asset for Comedy Central. It brought new visibility and new subscribers to the network. In becoming appointment television, it gave Comedy Central a more significant role in the world of cable channels. But ultimately, the brand identity that South Park contributes the most to is South Park itself. The programme draws viewers to Comedy Central only when it is on. This becomes especially true now that a bowdlerised version of the series has been sold into syndication.

Although the network was already growing into a more valuable asset, many industry insiders felt that its status as a joint holding hindered Quality09ch06 Reeves. The evenly split ownership had both advantages and disadvantages for the network. Once it became profitable, both the media giants had largely left the network alone, leaving it free to develop offbeat programming like South Park and The Man Show. Although Comedy Central struggled to improve its ratings and to get into more households, neither parent was really willing to commit resources to improve the situation.