Horace Newcomb

Television Scholar/Critic


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour interview, Horace Newcomb talks about his early life and his impressions of television in his youth. He describes his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and his opinion that the television of the era made society more socially aware. He recounts how he started writing about television with his first book, “TV: The Most Popular Art,” and his articles on television for the "Baltimore Sun." Newcomb discusses several television shows he feels had an impact, including M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, The Sopranos, and Magnum P.I. He speaks of the anthology collection, “Television: The Critical View," and his book “The Producers Medium," which includes interviews with several successful television producers, and he expands on the power of the producer or showrunner in television. He details his time as a juror, then as Chair, of the Peabody Awards, as well as his involvement with the Museum of Broadcast Communications. He concludes by giving his opinion on the 2016 presidential election, and Donald Trump’s relationship with the press. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on February 22, 2017 in Austin, TX.

"What we're seeing with television now is a culmination of what I had assumed early on: that this is a form of expression, industrialized, commodified, routinized, that has the potential of standing up beside any other art form. And it does."   

Highlights
Horace Newcomb on writing his first book on television, "TV: The Most Popular Art"
08:35
Horace Newcomb on The Sopranos being a game changer
05:49
Horace Newcomb on being interviewed for 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, who asked him, "Television. Why bother?"
03:06
Horace Newcomb on his time as a juror, then as Chair, of the Peabody Awards, and on the history of the Peabody Awards
07:42
Horace Newcomb on the value of interviews with television professionals such as the ones contained in "The Producer's Medium"
03:26
Horace Newcomb on what he believes the mission of television should be
03:17
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his earliest impressions of movies and television; on his favorite programs growing up
On how television made him and the society more socially aware; on participating in the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s; on how he got into studying television
On his first writing about television, "Reflections on the Structure of Soap Opera"; on writing his first book on television, "TV: The Most Popular Art"; on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
On Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; on M*A*S*H; on An American Family, and on the serialization of television which led to shows like Roots and Dallas

Chapter 2

On how Hill Street Blues changed the television industry; on Seinfeld; on genres and the rise of reality television
On The Sopranos being a game changer; on Magnum, P.I.'s cumulative narrative; on what the book "TV: The Most Popular Art" did for his career
On curating the anthology collection, "Television: The Critical View," a collection of essays about television; on television studies becoming more widely accepted and on putting together courses for his television studies program; on putting together courses for his television studies program
On teaching screenwriting; on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall; on the power of television producers and show runners, and on collaboration in television

Chapter 3

On being interviewed for 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, who asked him, "Television. Why bother?"; on the historic and then-current lack of diversity in television; on the rise of new media in regards to television
On his time as a juror, then as Chair, of the Peabody Awards, and on the history of the Peabody Awards; on awarding Peabody Awards for the news coverage of 9/11, and on the process of judging for the awards; on televising the Peabody Awards
On his involvement with the Museum of Broadcast Communications, and their "Encyclopedia of Television"; on the then-current television shows he watches, including several foreign shows on new media platforms like Netflix
On the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; on his early assessment of President Donald Trump's relationship with the press, one month into his tenure

Chapter 4

On what he believes the mission of television should be; on how television studies have changed since he started his career; on advice to aspiring television academics
On his distaste for mentors; on his proudest career achievements and regrets; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

60 Minutes

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on being interviewed for 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, who asked him, "Television. Why bother?"
03:06

All in the Family

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Horace Newcomb on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:46

American Family, An

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on An American Family, and on the serialization of television which led to shows like Roots and Dallas
07:48

Hill Street Blues

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on how Hill Street Blues changed the television industry
06:33

M*A*S*H

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Horace Newcomb on M*A*S*H
01:20

Magnum, P. I.

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Horace Newcomb on Magnum, P.I.'s cumulative narrative
04:56

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:46

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
01:30

Seinfeld

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Horace Newcomb on Seinfeld
01:51

Sopranos, The

View Show Page
Horace Newcomb on The Sopranos being a game changer
05:49
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on awarding Peabody Awards for the news coverage of 9/11, and on the process of judging for the awards
07:49

Advice

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on advice to aspiring television academics
01:30

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on how television made him and the society more socially aware
05:34
Horace Newcomb on participating in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
05:22

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on his distaste for mentors
01:42

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:46
Horace Newcomb on An American Family, and on the serialization of television which led to shows like Roots and Dallas
07:48
Horace Newcomb on how Hill Street Blues changed the television industry
06:33
Horace Newcomb on The Sopranos being a game changer
05:49
Horace Newcomb on Magnum, P.I.'s cumulative narrative
04:56
Horace Newcomb on the historic and then-current lack of diversity in television
04:42

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on the historic and then-current lack of diversity in television
04:42

Donald J. Trump

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on his early assessment of President Donald Trump's relationship with the press, one month into his tenure
02:52
Horace Newcomb on the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
10:30

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on how television made him and the society more socially aware
05:34
Horace Newcomb on participating in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
05:22
Horace Newcomb on awarding Peabody Awards for the news coverage of 9/11, and on the process of judging for the awards
07:49

New Media

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on the rise of new media in regards to television
06:34
Horace Newcomb on the then-current television shows he watches, including several foreign shows on new media platforms like Netflix
06:02

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on his distaste for mentors
01:42

Television Industry

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:46
Horace Newcomb on An American Family, and on the serialization of television which led to shows like Roots and Dallas
07:48
Horace Newcomb on the power of television producers and show runners, and on collaborating in television
05:39
Horace Newcomb on how Hill Street Blues changed the television industry
06:33
Horace Newcomb on The Sopranos being a game changer
05:49
Horace Newcomb on Magnum, P.I.'s cumulative narrative
04:56
Horace Newcomb on the historic and then-current lack of diversity in television
04:42
Horace Newcomb on the rise of new media in regards to television
06:34
Horace Newcomb on the then-current television shows he watches, including several foreign shows on new media platforms like Netflix
06:01
Horace Newcomb on what he believes the mission of television should be
03:17
Horace Newcomb on how television studies have changed since he started his career
04:58
Horace Newcomb on advice to aspiring television academics
01:30

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Horace Newcomb on his early assessment of President Donald Trump's relationship with the press, one month into his tenure
02:52
Horace Newcomb on the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
10:30
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Horace Newcomb on advice to aspiring television academics
01:30

TV Critic

View Profession
Horace Newcomb on advice to aspiring television academics
01:30
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on televising the Peabody Awards
03:50

Comedy Series

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
01:30
Horace Newcomb on M*A*S*H
01:20
Horace Newcomb on writing about television for the "Baltimore Sun," and on the coming of age of television in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
07:46
Horace Newcomb on Seinfeld
01:51

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on how Hill Street Blues changed the television industry
06:33
Horace Newcomb on Magnum, P.I.'s cumulative narrative
04:56

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on his first writing about television, "Reflections on the Structure of Soap Opera"
03:02

Drama Series

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on The Sopranos being a game changer
05:49

News and Documentary

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on An American Family, and on the serialization of television which led to shows like Roots and Dallas
07:48
Horace Newcomb on being interviewed for 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, who asked him, "Television. Why bother?"
03:06

Reality TV

View Genre
Horace Newcomb on television genres and the rise of reality television
03:39
People

Richard Levinson

View Person Page
Horace Newcomb on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall
11:18

William Link

View Interview Page
Horace Newcomb on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall
11:18

John Mantley

View Person Page
Horace Newcomb on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall
11:18

Garry Marshall

View Interview Page
Horace Newcomb on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall
11:18

Quinn Martin

View Person Page
Horace Newcomb on his publication, "The Producer's Medium," which featured interviews with several television producers including Quinn Martin, Richard Levinson and William Link, John Mantley, and Garry Marshall
11:18

Donald J. Trump

View Person Page
Horace Newcomb on the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
10:29
Horace Newcomb on his early assessment of President Donald Trump's relationship with the press, one month into his tenure
02:52

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