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The Tube Has Spoken: Reality TV and History

edited by Julie Anne Taddeo and Ken Dvorak foreword by Deborah A. Carmichael

Availablepaperback$25.00x 978-0-8131-3388-1
Availableweb pdf$25.00x 978-0-8131-2941-9
Availablecloth$50.00x 978-0-8131-2553-4
Availableepub$25.00x 978-0-8131-3938-8
Film and History
275 pages  Pubdate: 02/01/2011  6 x 9  10 b&w photos

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Featuring ordinary people, celebrities, game shows, hidden cameras, everyday situations, and humorous or dramatic situations, reality TV is one of the fastest growing and important popular culture trends of the past decade, with roots reaching back to the days of radio. The Tube Has Spoken provides an analysis of the growing phenomenon of reality TV, its evolution as a genre, and how it has been shaped by cultural history. This collection of essays looks at a wide spectrum of shows airing from the 1950s to the present, addressing some of the most popular programs including Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, Big Brother, Wife Swap, Kid Nation, and The Biggest Loser. It offers both a multidisciplinary approach and a cross-cultural perspective, considering Australian, Canadian, British, and American programs. In addition, the book explores how popular culture shapes modern western values; for example, both An American Family and its British counterpart, The Family, showcase the decline of the nuclear family in response to materialistic pressures and the modern ethos of individualism. This collection highlights how reality TV has altered the tastes and values of audiences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It analyzes how reality TV programs reflect the tensions between the individual and the community, the transformative power of technology, the creation of the celebrity, and the breakdown of public and private spheres.

Julie Anne Taddeo is visiting associate professor of history at the University of Maryland and the author of Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity.
Ken Dvorak is former president of the American Culture Association and an editorial member of the Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of American Culture, and Film & History.

"The scholarship throughout the volume is solid and well-considered. Its essays explore the historical precedents and social trends that inform televised 'Reality,' so that we might better understand the values, beliefs, and cultural 'truths' that help shape our lived reality."--Cynthia J. Miller, Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

"A substantial contribution to the rapidly growing body of scholarly work on reality television." --Robert J. Thompson, author of Television's Second Golden Age: From Hill Street B

"Although critics argue that some reality TV has no substance and can be an invasion of privacy, these well-written pieces indicate otherwise by illustrating that there is more to the genre." --Library Journal

"The essential book on this ever-more-important topic, The Tube Has Spoken offers a wide range of essays from the top names in the field, offering new insights and a wealth of information on every page. A must-read for students, professionals, and the general public, this fascinating volume delights and surprises; it is the single best volume available on the topic to date." --Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"A substantial contribution to the rapidly growing body of scholarly work on reality television." --Robert J. Thompson, author of Television's Second Golden Age: From Hill Street Blues to ER

"The scholarship throughout this volume is solid and well-considered. Its essays explore the historical precedents and social trends that inform televised ‘reality,’ so that we might better understand the values, beliefs, and cultural ‘truths’ that help shape our lived reality." --Cynthia J. Miller, scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

"The tools of historical analysis offered throughout the collection are important and provide a way to consider the intertextual influence of this genre and the texts themselves as historical documents." --Southwest Journal of Cultures

"A solid resource for those interested in popular culture and broadcast communication. Recommended." --Choice

"The tools of historical analysis offered throughout the collection are important and provide a way to consider the intertextual influence of this genre and the texts themselves as historical documents." --=Television Book Review

"The strength of the individual essays produces an interdisciplinary synthesis that is palpable and satisfying."--Film & History

“This edited collection offers a multidisciplinary approach to explore how reality television programming has expanded our understanding of the potential for television entertainment.” –J History