CFP Abstracts: TV Network Execs, Producers, and Performers: Clashes over Television

David Pierson's picture
Call for Papers
July 15, 2016
Wisconsin, United States
Subject Fields: 
Popular Culture Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, Film and Film History, Cultural History / Studies, Communication

From imperious TV network executives to “golden gut” programmers, star performers, influential independent producers, broadcast and cable TV mavericks, and auteurist showrunners—all of these individuals have struggled to leave their mark on mainstream and alternative television. From the early pioneering days of network television in the 1940s to the present-day hypercompetitive, multiplatform TV program milieu, these figures have strived to interpret and comprehend public taste in order to produce and distribute programming that satisfies a wide range of audiences, advertisers, and subscribers. 

These individuals and groups work within a continuously changing institutional, economic, social, technological, and regulatory television marketplace. They are often at direct odds with each other as they clash over legal and creative rights, story content, politics, morality, and of course, the all-important access to audiences.  While some exhibit mainstream social norms, others challenge and even subvert these norms to gain competitive advantage and to communicate to a diverse spectrum of audiences, which includes women, young adults, and minorities. 

This area invites 20-minute papers exploring the various facets of the complex power struggles, close alliances, and modes of creative expression that have (and still are) taking place in the production and distribution of program content within the commercial TV industries. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Auteurist Showrunners – J.J. Abrams, Alan Ball, Chris Carter, David Chase, Vince Gilligan, David E. Kelley, David Milch, David Simon, Darren Star, Joss Whedon, etc. 
  • Broadcast Maverick Producers –  Steven Bochco, Stephen J. Cannell, Diane English, Matt Goening, Susan Harris, Paul Henning, Norman Lear, Lorne Michaels, etc.  
  • Cable TV Mavericks – Gerald Levin, Robert L. Johnson, Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, etc. 
  • Independent Producers - Donald Bellisario, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roy Huggins, Richard Levinson, Quinn Martin, Garry Marshall, Agnes Nixon, Aaron Spelling, Dick Wolf, etc. 
  • Network Executives – Michael Eisner, Leonard Goldensen, Leslie Moonves, William Paley, David Sarnoff, Brandon Tartikoff, Sylvester Weaver, Robert Wood, Bob Wright, etc. 
  • Network Programmers – Channing Dungey, Paul Klein, Fred Silverman, etc. 
  • Star Performers - Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Sid Caesar, Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, James Garner, Jackie Gleason, Denis Leary, David Letterman, etc. 
  • Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 15 July 2016 to the area chair:David Pierson
University of Southern Maine

Contact Info: 

David Pierson, Associate Professor of Media Studies

University of Southern Maine 

Contact Email: