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Title:Buzz by Bravo: a trendsetting niche network’s place within contemporary television
Author(s):Baldwin, Martina S
Director of Research:Molina-Guzman, Isabel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Molina-Guzman, Isabel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hay, James; Dubrofsky, Rachel; Valdivia, Angharad
Department / Program:Institute of Communications Research
Discipline:Communications and Media Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Television Studies
Network Studies
Postfeminism
Cable Television
Neoliberalism
Industry Studies
Digital Era
Critical Branding Studies
Abstract:This dissertation examines Bravo as a niche cable channel whose strategies, audience, and programming contribute to its success in a competitive, changing landscape. As such my study of Bravo significantly contributes to the understanding of what television—as both a concept and an industry—represents in the twenty-first century. This project unpacks Bravo’s network strategies and explores how postfeminist and neoliberal ideologies are presented through the channel’s most successful franchise, The Real Housewives. I focus on the cable network Bravo as an exemplar in the ‘digital era’ of contemporary television, reflective of both trends in popular reality programming as well as the increasingly inevitable integration between television and technology. The project illuminates the trends indicative of the current state of the television industry. In a moment where streaming, on-demand services are taking viewers’ attention away from their traditional cable subscriptions and fictional original programming is at an all-time competitive high, Bravo’s success is notable. Almost fully reliant upon unscripted, reality fare, the channel continues to find success when many critics predict the end of reality programming and traditional cable. From an academic perspective, this dissertation is unique in that it combines television, industry, network, and audience studies with thematic analyses to reinforce the impossibility of studying television in our contemporary moment without each of these components. This project straddles the boundaries of several paradigms. Informed by critical branding and television studies, it also owes a significant debt to critical cultural studies and its interventions into the understanding of popular culture, power, and media.
Issue Date:2017-04-21
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/97754
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Martina Baldwin
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05


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