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Prime TimeJames Gardner and Peter Longini

Prime Time

The Game of Television (First Edition)
By Peter Longini, PhD and James Gardner, MFA

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62661-202-0, 146 pages


Prime Time: The Game of Television is a role-playing simulation of America’s television business. This book is the players’ manual to that simulation. It provides the rules, facts, and procedures through which students assume the roles of producer, network executive, and advertiser. Over the course of a semester, students live the history of television, beginning in a three network over-the-air broadcast environment and ending in a digital world where viewers can watch programming from multiple sources, with diverse forms of financial support, using a variety of different devices.

Prime Time is organized into three seasons corresponding with the evolution of the medium. Season One, “The Broadcast Era,” introduces student-players to the essential roles that comprise network television including executives and producers, the judicial system, advertisers, and viewers. It also addresses program content standards, as well as finances.

Season Two, “The Cable Era,” broadens students’ understanding of television to include cable networks, satellite and cable distributors, Independent Service Corporations and the Public Broadcasting System. Advertising demographics and ratings generated in the game become keys to programming strategy. Season Three, “The Digital Era,” brings the game into today’s multi-screen environment and includes player Awards of Merit and grading.

Through the course, students develop a first-hand understanding of television as a multi-billion dollar industry subject to powerful outside pressures as well as internal competition.

Prime Time: The Game of Television offers an active, creative, hands-on learning experience for students of media, television, and communications.

James Gardner holds an M.F.A. in directing from the Yale School of Drama, an M.A. in theatre and a B.A. in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. He is an associate professor, and the Director of Television Studies at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, as well as a prolific director and producer.
Peter Longini earned a Ph.D. in communication research at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the director of Peter Longini Communications, an editorial services business. Dr. Longini has taught speech and theatre arts at the University of Pittsburgh, and mass communication at Brooklyn College.