This book has been concerned with the different production factors that affect the manner of selecting substantive topics and the manner with which these topics are developed within popular television programmes. Inevitably, the cases its discusses are culturally specific, ‘snapshots’ of a dynamic process that reflects mainly UK production contexts. They are also potentially time specific, addressing television production when those working within the industry were beginning to witness the intensified demands of commercial imperatives, the proliferation of channels and the fragmentation of audiences. This concluding chapter aims to extend the debate and address the ideological struggle over prime-time entertainment in terms of wider questions pertaining to public knowledge, citizenship and cultural forms. These are of great significance not least in the current debate, where prevailing ‘culture wars’ mean that US media and popular television in particular are under significant scrutiny from those with a conservative agenda. This final chapter begins by outlining some key findings from the production case studies, before considering how these might link with existing ideas about television fiction and the soap opera as a relatively ‘open’ television format. It concludes by providing some thoughts on directions in media and communications research.
Keywords: production factors, television programmes, television production, commercial imperatives, fragmentation of audiences, prime-time entertainment, television fiction, soap opera, open television format, media
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