Date of Award

Spring 1977

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jones, Leo M.


Writing for television is an exercies which requires general skills common to writing based forms, whether literature, drama or journalism. More specifically it requires a knowledge of particular program structures; program structure being the arrangement of elements common to all television programs, i.e. story segments between commercials, scenes per segment, placement of commercials and continuity. Each television program type, i.e. live audience situation comedy, filmed dramatic series, documentary, has a unique structure which separates it from other forms. This thesis presents a model for dramatic structural analyis and analyzes the structure of contemporary television serial drama. It presents information needed by a writer interested in presenting a story in serial form. The structural analysis is based on the eight part television serial dramatization of Taylor Caldwell's novel "Captains and the Kings". This serial was selected because it exemplifies contemporary television serial drama. A video tape recording of the serial was made to facilitate detailed structural study. To provide a perspective on serial drama's contemporary form, a historical study traces the development of serial drama from its introduction in silent motion pictures, through its media transition to television and its present revival as a television program form.