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Timothy Havens

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814737200

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814737200.001.0001

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Integrated Eighties Situation Comedies and the Struggle against Apartheid

Integrated Eighties Situation Comedies and the Struggle against Apartheid

(p.57) 2 Integrated Eighties Situation Comedies and the Struggle against Apartheid
Black Television Travels

Timothy Havens

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the acquisition and programming of integrated sitcoms in apartheid South Africa. It analyzes how the South African channel Bop-TV used integrated sitcoms to construct an antiapartheid program schedule and channel identity. In addition to demolishing the prevalent industry lore that programming must have “universal themes” in order to appeal to international viewers, the story of integrated situation comedies in South Africa demonstrates the various institutional labors that broadcasters could generate from imported African American programming. It also displays the centrality of African American themes, even in highly integrated series, in explaining the value that foreign broadcasters often find in such imports.

Keywords:   integrated sitcoms, apartheid South Africa, Bop-TV, antiapartheid channel identity, industry lore, universal themes, African American programming

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