Magazine
Latest Issue

Cops, docs and lawyers

The so-called "wasteland" of US television has generated drama that puts Britain to shame. But the networks' golden era may now be at an end

By Andrew Billen   August 2002

On 9th may 1961, Newton Minow, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, rose to address the most powerful men in American television. Since 1934, the FCC had been charged with protecting the American public interest from the excesses of a broadcasting free-for-all, the likes of which Britain, partly for reasons of Reithian paternalism, had never known. “When television is good, nothing-not the theatre, not the magazines or newspapers-nothing is better,” Newt (as he was known) told his Washington audience. “But when television is bad,” he went on, “nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect