[Commercial television in Britain]

Thursday, August 06, 1953

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes begins with ways of measuring influence. A previous comment about women weathercasters. She seemed to be ignorant of the weather terminology; perhaps there should be one area of television that should be left without showmanship. A burlesque of the weathercaster on television the next day. This is not an example of his influence, but he'd like to think so.

Reverse criticism in England. Commercial television is competition against the BBC. Reads a commentary by someone working for the BBC (Mr. Muggeridge?). There isn't as much variety in political commentators as we would like. Many stations and sponsors would increase the number of view points for audiences. Just because a program is sponsored, it doesn't mean the content is influenced.

Review of My Fair Lady. A presentation on the television included many edits (chopped up just to be a filler). Is this downgrading inevitable?

Agony, incorporated. Programs which capitalize on human misery. Give-aways. Children on quiz shows, children exploited by being forced to relay adult jokes.

John Huston is becoming the most written about director.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71536
Municipal archives id: LT3613

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


Supported by