TV in the USA

A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas

by Vincent LoBrutto


Even with the emergence of new technology in the 21st century and the increasing power of the Internet and social media, television continues to be an omnipresent force that shapes cultural identity, popular trends, and public opinion.

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Cover image for TV in the USA

January 2018


Pages 1133
Volumes 3
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
  American History/Culture

This three-volume set is a valuable resource for researching the history of American television. An encyclopedic range of information documents how television forever changed the face of media and continues to be a powerful influence on society.

What are the reasons behind enduring popularity of television genres such as police crime dramas, soap operas, sitcoms, and "reality TV"? What impact has television had on the culture and morality of American life? Does television largely emulate and reflect real life and society, or vice versa? How does television's influence differ from that of other media such as newspapers and magazines, radio, movies, and the Internet? These are just a few of the questions explored in the three-volume encyclopedia TV in the USA: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas.

This expansive set covers television from 1950 to the present day, addressing shows of all genres, well-known programs and short-lived series alike, broadcast on the traditional and cable networks. All three volumes lead off with a keynote essay regarding the technical and historical features of the decade(s) covered. Each entry on a specific show investigates the narrative, themes, and history of the program; provides comprehensive information about when the show started and ended, and why; and identifies the star players, directors, producers, and other key members of the crew of each television production. The set also features essays that explore how a particular program or type of show has influenced or reflected American society, and it includes numerous sidebars packed with interesting data, related information, and additional insights into the subject matter.


  • Supplies historic context for why television shows were released at a particular moment in time
  • Covers key television genres—such as the western, sitcoms, crime shows, and variety programs—in detail
  • Provides readers with an understanding of the technical evolution of television that directly affected programming
  • Includes biographies of important individuals in the television industry
Author Info

Vincent LoBrutto is an instructor of editing and film history at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. His published work includes Stanley Kubrick: A Biography; Greenwood's The Encyclopedia of American Independent Filmmaking; and Praeger's Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures and Martin Scorsese: A Biography. LoBrutto is recipient of the 2011 American Cinema Editors' (ACE) Robert Wise Award for Journalistic Illumination of the Art of Editing.



"Highly recommended resource for public and academic libraries. For anybody interested in television and its history and for students researching television history for media courses."—ARBA

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