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Global Television Formats by Sharon Shahaf, Tasha Oren

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6

FROM DISCRETE ADAPTATIONSTO HARD COPIES

The Rise of Formats in European Television

Jérôme Bourdon

To understand what is a format, this chapter suggests it is best to start with history, and to ask “When was the format?” When did the notion receive its modern meaning of standard, replicable, internationally marketable, and potentially successful formula? I will investigate this while focusing on specific actors, television professionals who started using the term and believing in the thing, and on a certain region, Western Europe.

Why professionals? Media theories should not ignore the pragmatic knowledge of social actors. Before it started being researched, “format” had long been a term of broadcasting parlance, first in the U.S.A., then ...

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