Talk shows engage with significant ethical and social issues

Posted by pt91 at Feb 21, 2012 01:00 PM |
Free public lecture examines reason and emotion in television talk shows

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 21 February 2012

The Jeremy Kyle Show – sensationalist and exploitative television or serious engagement with social and ethical questions?

This question will be posed by Professor Peter Lunt, of the University of Leicester's Department of Media and Communication, during his inaugural lecture on February 28.

His talk, Reason and emotion in television talk shows: ethical dilemmas in the public sphere, will look at how talk shows first emerged as new forums for public debate but have come to be centred on emotions, conflict and drama.

Professor Lunt said: “Talk shows were once an innovation in popular television that blurred the boundaries of factual broadcasting and entertainment, gave a voice to people who had previously 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 in addition to educating, informing and entertaining broadcast media became a forum for popular 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 engage with significant ethical and social issues.”

Professor Lunt was brought up in Leicester and attended the City of Leicester Boys School from 1967 to 1974. He has returned to the city after a gap of 38 years to teach at the university.

The lecture will be held at 5.30pm on February 28 at Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester.

Notes to editors:

Professor Lunt can be contacted at

Report by Mark Cardwell

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