Reason and emotion in television talk shows: Ethical dilemmas in the public sphere
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Professor Peter Lunt
Department of Media and Communication
Talk shows were once an innovation in popular television that blurred the boundaries of factual broadcasting and entertainment, gave a voice to people had previously have been considered unqualified to speak and enabled a public dialogue to develop on issues of social and personal concern. In the 1980s, such shows represented a new populism and challenged the traditions of public service broadcasting so that instead of educating, informing and entertaining broadcast media became a forum for public debate and argument. However, popular cultural genres rarely stand still and talk shows have been transformed into programmes that focus on sensation, conflict and emotional secrets. Yet, I will argue, that, surprisingly, shows such as the Jerry Springer Show and Jeremy Kyle represent a serious attempt to tackle significant ethical and social issues.