Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
ColumboPaying Attention 24/7$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Martin-Jones

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474479790

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474479790.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Blueprint for Murder

Blueprint for Murder

(p.17) Chapter 1 Blueprint for Murder

David Martin-Jones

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter begins by exploring Columbo‘s genesis. Firstly, by rehearsing the well-known story of the show’s development, its initial iterations on small screen and stage, and production by Universal for NBC. Secondly, an alternative version is offered, by situating the show’s commissioning in the context of the US television industry’s chief concerns of the 1960s and 1970s: feature length made-for-television films; the level of investment appropriate for them; the eschewal of violent content; and target audience demographics (ratings, market shares, advertisements). This new perspective is informed by historical sources, and makes it possible to both acknowledge the importance of Columbo’s origins in the work of Richard Levinson and William Link, and yet to realise it as a product of the industrial conditions within which its commissioning was possible. The book’s argument is then situated in relation to existing scholarly fields in which the issue of attention is of growing interest, Television Studies especially. The chapter concludes by exploring how Columbo’s “inconsistent” narrative world throws up challenges to some of the seminal theories which define cult television. These challenges to our understanding of how cult television programmes usually “work”, reveal much about the memory game which Columbo encourages us to play.

Keywords:   Universal Television, NBC, Richard Levinson and William Link, Television Studies, Film-philosophy, Television-philosophy, Cult television, Inconsistency, Memory game

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.