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The History of Prime Time Television Lee Marshall

The History of Prime Time Television

(Revised First Edition)
Written by George Lee Marshall, WGA

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62661-208-2, 448 pages


Coming Soon
The Second Edition will be published Fall 2018. ISBN: 978-1-5165-2073-2

Lee Marshall’s textbook The History of Prime Time Television is an informative and entertaining look at how history and television are melded together to enlighten our cultural experience. It presents an important view of how television has mirrored history and will guide students in today’s college courses of the past achievements of television and how it has shaped our personal experiences. It would be a great addition to any college class and will keep readers up to date and entertained along the way.Mardell Nash, Adjunct Professor, California State University Long Beach

Lee Marshall’s new book The History of Prime Time Television is bound to become the standard textbook on the subject. While Erik Barnouw’s Tube of Plenty (first written in 1970) served that purpose for many years, the industry has been changing and morphing with lightning speed since the last edition of Tube was published over 20 years ago. Marshall leaves nothing of lasting significance from the earlier book out, but he’s shifted the focus to the milestones we find most important from our 21st Century perspective, and added vital material covering the past 20+ years of corporate consolidation, and cable and Internet market penetration, perhaps soon domination.Bob Shayne, Adjunct Professor, Chapman University

A triumphant tribute to television, this book chronicles TVs inception and evolution and puts it into historical context. Discussion of each period is both substantive and entertaining. Marshall’s brilliant writing makes the reader want to celebrate having experienced this important medium of television and its place in history. A must-read.Jana Echevarria, Professor Emerita of Education, California State University, Long Beach

I have taught the History of Television for the past eight years and students love the class...except for the text, which they find dense and dry. Now I finally have a solution—George Lee Marshall's excellent text . It's entertaining, comprehensive, and organized in small segments to fit almost any history of TV curriculum. If you're teaching in this field, do yourself and your students a favor and assign this accessible and user-friendly new book.—Ross Brown, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Arts Dodge College at Chapman University

Lee Marshall’s The History of Prime Time Television is a thorough and well-told account of one the most pervasive cultural influences of our time. Written by someone who is both a student of, and participant in, the world that television is, this book speaks with rare authority and insight. A lively and comprehensive work, The History of Prime Time Television should please both the serious student and the casual reader and be of enormous value in teaching television’s history.—Jerry Law, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA

The History of Prime Time Television is a user-friendly textbook that chronicles television's unique history from the drawing board to the living room, and beyond. Organized chronologically, the book begins by briefly addressing the age of invention and the birth of radio. However, the primary focus of the text surrounds prime time programming, homing in on the series that defined their respective decade by reflecting changes in the culture, style and values of the time, and how some went on to become iconic representations of 20th and 21st century America.

Each decade's historical importance, as well as all of the nuance and chronological markers connected to the story of television itself, is covered in a way that engages students and helps them retain what they are learning. Discussion questions geared to tap into the students’ critical thinking follow every chapter. Topics include:

  • Invention and Promotion – Television’s Early Struggles
  • How Serious Programming began with Comedy
  • The Role of Television During Wartime
  • Prime Time Television's Golden Age
  • Civil Rights and Television
  • Long-Form Television
  • Television’s Symbiotic Relationship to Sports
  • The Birth and Growth of Cable Programming
  • Reality Programming

Students will also glean information about the impact of each decade’s culture on television and learn about the transition from black and white to color programming, deregulation, censorship, and the future of television in the new millennium.

The History of Prime Time Television includes fascinating information about the historical milestones that made television not just a form of entertainment, but a social mediator, a political force, and American's window into the human experience and condition. The book is ideal for courses in the areas of media history, entertainment history, and media communications.

George Lee Marshall earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Diego State University. Working for the government after college, he went on to make educational and training films for the United States Navy. In 1983, he began writing for both television and feature films, selling over 50 screenplays, treatments, long-form teleplays, television episodes and pilots over the next twenty-five years, earning him lifetime member status in the Writers Guild of America. In 2000, he was asked by San Diego State University to develop and teach writing courses for their School of Theater, Television and Film. There, over the past 13 years, Lee has introduced curriculum and created courses for upper-division and graduate-level classes, including “The History of Prime Time Television.” Professor Marshall has worked with the Veteran's Administration at California State University, Long Beach to create and teach a 15-week real-time online storytelling course for returning veterans, while being twice recognized at SDSU as his department’s Outstanding Faculty. Professor Marshall currently lectures at the nationally acclaimed Dodge College of Film and Media Arts on the Chapman University Campus teaching TV history, business, and writing courses.