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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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23

“What's TV Good For?”

Views of Producers of Television for Children around the World

Dafna Lemish

ABSTRACT

This chapter analyzes the goals of producing quality television programs for children around the world as they pertain to issues of culture and gender in a world of profit-driven globalized market. It is based on interviews, conducted between 2004 and 2008, with 135 producers from 65 countries. The main themes highlighted are: the tension between the preservation of local cultural identities by television programs and the highly successful Western programs disseminated by globalized networks (such as Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network); and the crafting of strong, complex, and diverse characters to serve as role models for children and to provide them with a vision for an improved self and a better future. Television, according to the study, is expected to be a safe and relevant space for children.

There are few critical studies of the production domains of television for children. Several scholars who have undertaken comprehensive analyses of the children's television industry in the US and UK explored various economic, organizational, commercial, and content-related topics (Alexander & Owers, 2007; Banet-Weiser, 2004; Bryant, 2007; Bryant & Monge, 2008; Buckingham, Davies, Jones, & Kelley, 1999; Hendershot, 2004; Pecora, 1998). These studies unveiled some of the mechanisms in operation in this professional world and demonstrated, for example, how economic pressures ...

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