Date of Award

Spring 1976

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tiedge, James

Second Advisor

Buckholdt, David

Third Advisor

Grams, John


The new family viewing policy of the National Association of Broadcasters, stated in its Television Code, Section I, "Principles Governing Program Content," reads: Entertainment programing inappropriate for viewing by a general family audience should not be broadcast during the first hour of network entertainment programing in prime time and in the immediately preceding hour. In the occasional Case when an entertainment program in this time period is deemed to be inappropriate for such an audience, advisories should be used to alert the viewers. Advisories should also be used when programs in later prime time periods contain materials that might be . disturbing to significant segments of the audience. These advisories should be presented in audio and video form at the beginning of the program and when deemed appropriate at a later point in the program. Advisories should also be used responsibly in promotional material in advance of the program. When using an advisory, the broadcaster should attempt to notify publishers of television program listings. This fall (1975), twenty out of eighty-four half hour slots per week, between 6:30 and 8:30 P.M., contain family-theme programs. This, of course, excludes "Maude" which is scheduled at 8:30 P.M. With almost a quarter of prime time fare devoted to family-theme situation comedy and light drama, it is important that a study be made of the image of the family reflected in these programs. This may reveal to what extent TV families reflect current sociological trends; also, some of the potential functions of family-theme programs in shaping society. In this study, an attempt is made to illuminate family role concepts to which the public are exposed each evening during the hours of heaviest viewing, 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. It excludes commercials even though many of them portray family scenes. Programs such as "Petrocelli,"McMillan and Wife" and The Bob Newhart Show" also contain some family scenes but are not included in this study because they are not specifically based on family themes.