Must tweet TV: ABC's #TGIT and the cultural work of programming social television

  • Eleanor Patterson University of Iowa
Keywords: Connected viewing, Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Live tweeting, Shonda Rhimes, Scandal, Twitter, Social media

Abstract

US television network ABC developed their "Thank God It's Thursday" (TGIT) programming block in 2014 as a prime-time schedule composed of three back-to-back dramas produced by well-known TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes. From its initial development, ABC intended TGIT to be a three-hour live viewing event, encouraged by a multipronged #TGIT Twitter campaign. I consider the industrial and cultural significance of marketing the TGIT block of programming together as a cohesive block of social TV in order to encourage and structure audience participation in live television viewing. #TGIT's form of social television developed as a result of the rise of multicultural market research. The reemergence of serialized melodrama on network television functions culturally to commodify Black femininity in order to appeal to a transracial upscale female audience.

Author Biography

Eleanor Patterson, University of Iowa
Eleanor Patterson received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2016, and researches broadcasting, technology and distribution cultures in the post-network era. As a cultural studies scholar, her work attends to ways that broadcasting and new media technologies are shaped by ideologies, labor practices and audience engagement. Eleanor's work has been published in the peer-reviewed journals Media, Culture & Society, Feminist Media Studies, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, The Journal of Radio & Audio Media and Communication Review.
Published
2018-03-15