la times: tv ‘family hour’ disappeared to make room for ‘darker shows’. why? – 03min

Posted: November 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Why did family shows like the Cosby Show, Seventh Heaven & Home Improvement disappear? Not without good reason – and that good reason isn’t that these shows are too ‘old-style’.

From the LA Times:

“…the family unit itself has markedly changed since the mid-1970s, when the Federal Communications Commission pressured the top three networks to institute a “family viewing hour” from 8 to 9 p.m. Over the last four decades — as divorce and single parenthood climbed sharply — the percentage of children younger than 18 living in a two-parent household slid from roughly 85% to 67%, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the family viewing hour policy, born from protests about the rising tide of sex and violence on TV in the early 1970s, was scrapped by the courts within a couple of years, leaving the networks to pledge their best effort in maintaining suitable family programming in that prime-time hour.

The dearth of family programming today can also be traced to a longstanding tension between the major networks and the creative community, which has gravitated toward darker and edgier material, particularly as cable became more of a force in Hollywood, said TV historian Tim Brooks.”

Listen to full audio here.

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