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Is Television Still a “Vast Wasteland?”

posted by Nell Minow

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53 years ago today my dad, the new 35-year-old Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission appointed by President John F. Kennedy, made a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters that was on every list of the most influential speeches of the 2oth century.  We are very proud of him.  Last weekend, he was presented with the Lincoln Award by the Governor of Illinois.  It is the state’s highest award for public service.

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And did you know that television writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz was so angry about the speech he decided to name the sinking ship on his new television show after my dad?  Yes, that’s how the S.S. Minnow on “Gilligan’s Island” got its name.  Really.

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  • Sanford Sklansky

    When it comes to reality type shows sure it is a vast waist land. But then we have some great shows like Justified, the late great Deadwood, The Wire, the New Fargo Series etc. TV certainly explores things that it wouldn’t when your father gave that speech. I should ad net flix to the mix. Although tv in the sense that we usually watch, it is coming up with new shows as is Amazon and Hulu. With so many out lets they are going to have to come up with something to fill all that air time. I think in the main tv is better than when I was a kid. One thing I do miss is westerns. It would be nice to come up with a good one.

    • Nell Minow

      I have a best of times, worst of times view on television. The best is better than ever before, but the worst is worse than we ever imagined. I am glad that television provides a much broader range of options in every category, but sorry we don’t have that global village moment of coming into work or school the next day all having seen the same show.

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