Zócalo Public Square
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Can Television Bring America Together?
February 21, 2017 • 7:30 pm PST
A Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” Event
Moderated by John Bowman, Emmy Award-winning writer and creator of Martin
We the people of the United States of America are one nation divided—not just by politics and geography but also by targeted marketing and a thousand cable channels. Today, the notion of TV as a shared experience is dying, and there are very few attempts to make shows that appeal to more than one audience at a time. But does it have to be this way? Within the entertainment industry, a few players are talking about creating entertainment that builds bridges, via story lines and marketing, between different demographics and audiences: black and white, rural and urban, red state and blue. What strategies are they using to remake TV into a medium that unites the country? Humorist, TV writer, and former executive producer of Modern Family Dan O’Shannon, Jane the Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, and Gloria Calderon Kellett, co-showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s One Day at a Time, discuss how TV might help us all get along.