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The politics of American television

By David Herman   May 2004

Frasier and Friends are about to finish. Sex and the City is over. The defining programmes of the Clinton years are ending. From the first series of Friends, when Phoebe, Rachel and Monica were delivered George Stephanopolous’s pizza by mistake, the Clinton White House and the new wave of US television shows had a lot in common. Their hearts beat with the same liberal values. Smart and irreverent, they spoke to the same young, professional, urban constituency, while also winning over middle America.

The history of US television has been a battle between two very different visions of America.…

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