This is an archived course.

Course Description

The advent of technological innovations in the distribution of television have significantly impacted the role television has played in the US since the era of network dominance in the 1960s and 1970s. This course will examine multichannel television not only as a technological development but also as an agent for television aesthetics, for the economics of global media industries, and for the dynamic relationship between television, culture, and politics in the US.


Juan Monroy



Course Materials


Additional readings are available as PDF documents on Blackboard.


This course will make heavy use of Blackboard. Please be sure to check it regularly for course announcements, assignment guidelines, required and optional readings, supplemental screenings, presentations from lectures, and your own personal gradebook and attendance records. You may also use Blackboard to submit assignments electronically (see "Submitting Assignments Electronically" below).

To access Blackboard, point your browser to, and log in using your NYU Net ID and password. You will find our course under "Courses You Are Taking."

Stay Informed

To stay current on the economics of multichannel television you should subscribe to NATPE Daily Lead.

In addition, you should regularly research the following industry trades, using ProQuest or Lexis Nexis:

Office Hours

Please feel free to stop by my weekly office hours on Wednesday, 2:00–4:00 PM, in the Tisch Common Room (721 Broadway, Ground Floor). If this time does not work for you, please speak with or email me to make an appointment.


Weekly attendance

Attendance at all class session is of vast importance, and thus there are no "excused" absences. Our sessions involve intensive group discussion of assigned readings and in-class screenings, which can only occur in class.

If you miss more than two class sessions, those absences will count against your final grade. Missing more than 30 minutes of class, either due to late arrival or early departure will count as one absence.

If you experience a medical, family, or financial catastrophe during the semester, immediately contact your academic advisor, Ventura Castro at Cinema Studies, and me so we can all work together in helping you complete your work through an exceptionally difficult time. Note: coursework for other classes, including film shoots or other crew production work, does not qualify as "exceptionally difficult" circumstances.


Complete each week's readings before our class session. The lectures will cover material that assumes you have completed that week's assigned readings. I invite you to re-read certain chapters or articles after the class to reinforce the lecture and screenings from our sessions.


All written work must be submitted on time. Late work will not be accepted, except for "exceptionally difficult" circumstances outlined above. You must also complete every assignment in order to receive a grade for this class.

In addition, all written work must be formatted according to Guidelines for Written Work. In general, your writing must be clear, professional in tone, elaborate any point you make, prove all original assertions, and cite your source for any information that is not "common knowledge." Please print your paper and proofread it for grammar and typographic errors before submitting it. Excessive errors will result in a lower grade. Also, please do not submit assignments via email attachments (see Submitting Files Electronically below).

I police plagiarism vigilantly. Any student who hands in work not their own will receive a failing grade for the course.


Timeline of Historical Events

On Blackboard, you will find thirty important events in US and World history that have impacted US television programming, the broadcast industries, and American culture. Arrange those events on a timeline and submit that timeline.

Ungraded Historical Narrative

Select one of the events listed on the Timeline Assignment page. Write a four-hundred word summary of that event and its relevance for the US television industries.

You must consult at least six independent sources. Three must be primary sources and three must be secondary sources. None of these can be standalone Internet sources.

You must cite any sources according to the specifications of the Modern Language Association or the Chicago Manual of Style.

This assignment will not receive a grade. Instead, I will offer comments on your writing and your research methods. However, you must complete this assignment in order to receive a grade for this class.

Research Paper Proposal and Bibliography

Your final paper will examine an historical case study occurring after 1970 in multichannel television within an aesthetic, cultural, or industrial framework. You should avoid topics occuring after 2001.

You will do a substantial amount of outside historical research to complete this paper. You should select your final paper topic and discuss it with me as soon as possible but no later than Week 7.

As you work on your final paper, you will prepare a two-page proposal of your research paper. It should also include a "barebones" outline with the topics you will address. Your proposal should include a bibliography with a minimum of twelve independent primary and secondary sources, none of which can be standalone Internet sources. I will return it within a week to provide comments and suggestions.

Group Presentations on Media Conglomeration

No later than November 1, five groups of students will form and be assigned a media conglomerate, such as Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corp, and NBC Universal.

On November 29, each group will make a twenty-minute multimedia presentation with on each conglomerate's media and entertainment holdings. Those holdings should include content properties, broadcast and cable television networks, broadcast and satellite radio, cable MSOs, direct broadcast satellites, Internet portals, telecommunications providers, and partnerships with other media producers, distributors, and exhibitors.

Course Schedule


Midterm Exam

In the eighth week, you will take an in-class midterm exam. It will consist of three parts. The first part will ask you to identify terms and describe their greater relationship to network and multichannel television. The second part is a series of short essay questions, asking you to discuss a number of issues in the television industries. The third part is a long essay, where you will compose well-argued essay on a matrix of factors affecting television programming in a multichannel environment. In the weeks prior to the exam, I will distribute some possibilities for the long essay.

I will post study questions each week on Blackboard to help you prepare.

Course Schedule

Sep 06: Introduction to Multichannel Television


Sep 13: Local and Global: CATV and Satellite

Outside Screening
In-Class Screenings

Sep 20: Blue Sky

In-Class Screenings

Sep 27: Pay to Play

In-Class Screenings

Oct 04: Cable TV is Still TV

In-Class Screenings

Oct 11: Televisuality and Other Innovations of the 1980s

In-Class Screenings

Oct 18: Deregulation I: Fowler's Toaster

In-Class Screenings

Oct 25: Midterm Exam

Nov 01: Network Branding and Narrowcasting

In-Class Screenings

Nov 08: The Case of Fox

In Class Screenings

Nov 15: Deregulation II: The Telecommunications Act

In-Class Screenings

Nov 29: Conglomeration and Convergence

In-Class Screenings

Dec 06: Globalization

In-Class Screenings

Dec 13: Conclusion: DTV, VOD, and New Directions