Companion Website Launched

Companion Website

Routledge just launched the companion Website for the book:

Here you’ll find:

Student Resources

  • Do-it-Yourself Video Editing Exercise
  • Do-it-Yourself Sound Exercise
  • Tutorials & Video Links
  • Glossary of Key Terms
  • Interactive Flashcards
  • Image Gallery

Instructor Resources

  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Sample Chapters
  • Sample Syllabus
  • Sample Student Papers

Official Release!

5th Edition CoverTelevision: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture has been revised, renamed, and updated. Plus, a new chapter by Amanda D. Lotz has been added.

Television was released last month and is available for summer and fall classes. Examination copies may be requested here:

The marketing team says:

Under the title, Television: Critical Methods and Applications, this textbook has served as the foremost guide to television studies for over two decades. The new, fifth edition, offers readers an in-depth understanding of how television programs and commercials are made and how they function as producers of meaning. It shows the ways in which camera style, lighting, set design, editing, and sound combine to produce meanings that viewers take away from their television experience.


  • A new subtitle to reflect the broader scope of what qualifies as “television” in the 21st century: “Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture.”
  • An entirely new chapter by Amanda D. Lotz on television in the contemporary digital media environment. (Lotz’s next book, We Now Disrupt This Broadcast: How Cable Transformed Television & the Internet Revolutionized It All will be published by MIT Press this month.)
  • Discussions integrated throughout on the latest developments in screen culture during the on-demand era—including the impact of binge-watching and the proliferation of screens (smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, etc.).
  • Updates on the effects of new digital technologies on TV style.
  • A forthcoming companion Website with PowerPoint presentations, sample syllabi, and sample student papers for instructors.


“There is, quite simply, no more comprehensive resource for the student of television.” -Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Instructors of undergraduate television studies courses know that Butler’s Television is a smart, accessible, and indispensable teaching tool, whether our objects of study are The Beverly Hillbillies or Breaking Bad, Monday Night Football or Meet the Press.” -Mary Desjardins, Dartmouth College

“Given television’s pervasive presence in our personal and political lives today, it’s vital to understand how TV works as an expressive form, a business, and a cultural force. Jeremy Butler’s updated Television proves more indispensable than ever before in exploring these facets of the medium.” -Christine Becker, University of Notre Dame

Television remains the best book out there for introducing students to the art, industry, and culture of television as we actually experience it. An essential guide to the stories television tells, yesterday and today.” -Michele Hilmes, University of Wisconsin, Madison


    • Chapter 1 An Introduction to Television Structures and Systems: Ebb and Flow in the Network Era
    • Chapter 2 Television in the Contemporary Media Environment, by Amanda D. Lotz
    • Chapter 3 Narrative Structure: Television Stories
    • Chapter 4 Building Narrative: Character, Actor, Star
    • Chapter 5 Beyond and Beside Narrative Structure
    • Chapter 6 The Television Commercial
    • Chapter 7 An Introduction to Television Style: Modes of Production
    • Chapter 8 Style and Setting: Mise-en-Scene
    • Chapter 9 Style and the Camera: Videography and Cinematography
    • Chapter 10 Style and Editing
    • Chapter 11 Style and Sound
    • Chapter 12 An Introduction to Television Studies
    • Chapter 13 Textual Analysis
    • Chapter 14 Discourse and Identity
  • Appendix I: Sample Analyses and Exercises
  • Appendix II: Mass Communication Research
  • Glossary

Further information:

First Look at the New Cover Design!

Cover of Fifth Edition
Fifth edition cover.

The cover design for the fifth edition has been completed!

As we first reported in a post on August 31, 2017, we selected a LIFE magazine image from 1966, created by Arthur Schatz. It’s licensed from Getty Images, which title it: ““Showing different stations available to CATV subscribers.”

The following blurb will appear on the book’s copyright page to provide a bit more context. Part of our rationale for picking this image is to allude to the abundance of screens in 21st-century life.

When it first appeared in LIFE in January 1966 it illustrated the variety of channels that were available to “community antenna TV” (CATV) subscribers at that time. CATV was the first form of “cable television” in the U.S. and would eventually lead to the vast profusion of cable channels in the 1990s. In turn, the proliferation of cable networks came to disrupt the dominance of over-the-air broadcast networks—a harbinger of future upheaval caused by on-demand streaming services.


New Narrative Diagrams

We’ve designed three new diagrams of narrative structure: classical film, TV series, and TV serial. As the basis for our diagram, we used a LucidChart Story Map created by Victoria Costley. Here’s what we came up with (click an image to enlarge it).

Narrative structure in classical film.
Narrative structure in classical film.

View classical-film narrative structure on LucidChart.

TV Series Narrative Structure
TV Series Narrative Structure

View TV-series narrative structure on LucidChart.

TV Serial Narrative Structure
TV Serial Narrative Structure

View TV-serial narrative structure on LucidChart.

Ms. Costley generously made her map and other narrative-analysis tools available online for reuse and modification (although as of August 31, 2017 it appears to have disappeared from LucidChart). She offered it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license. To honor the spirit of her license, we offer these three new diagrams under the updated CC BY-NC-SA license:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

New Title! Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture

It’s no secret that television has changed significantly since we first chose a name for Television: Critical Methods and Applications back in 1994. That title has served us well for over two decades, but we’ve decided a new subtitle might better reflect the book’s content—especially since we have a new chapter contributed by Amanda Lotz on TV in the post-network era.

So we bandied a few ideas about and came up with:

Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture

The new edition still accounts for TV’s functioning in the network era, but we also go deeper into new forms of visual storytelling and screen culture in an age in which screens have proliferated.

Let us know what you think of the new title!


5th Edition Has Been Submitted to Routledge!

This afternoon we submitted all the word-processing, spreadsheet and image files that will make up the fifth edition of Television. We should be on-track for a fall 2018 release!

Highlights of the fifth edition include:

  • An entirely new chapter by Amanda D. Lotz on television in the contemporary media environment.
  • Discussions integrated throughout on the latest developments in screen culture during the on-demand era—including the impact of binge-watching and the proliferation of screens (smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, etc.).
  • Updates on the effect of new digital technologies on TV style. • Over three hundred printed illustrations, including new and better quality screen shots of recent television shows and commercials and new narrative diagrams.
  • A companion website containing color screen shots, a glossary, flash cards, and do-it-yourself video editing and sound exercises for students, as well as PowerPoint presentations, sample syllabi, and sample student papers for instructors. Simplified short links to online videos that support examples in the text are provided.
  • We’ve decided that “Critical Methods and Applications” sounds a bit stodgy. Watch this space for a new subtitle!

Author Bios

Jeremy G. Butler is Professor of Journalism and Creative Media at the University of Alabama. He has taught television, film, and new media courses since 1980 and is active in online educational resources for television and film studies.

Amanda D. Lotz is Professor of media studies at the University of Michigan and Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. She is the author of several books about television and its changes from the 1990s through the present.

New Edition of Television Is Under Contract

We’ve signed a contract to revise Television yet again!

A fifth edition of the textbook should be out sometime in 2018, if all goes according to plan.

Television has changed immensely since our first edition in 1994. Helping us bring the book into the 21st century will be Amanda D. Lotz—an acknowledged expert on the contemporary television landscape. She is the author of Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television (2017), the co-author of Understanding Media Industries (2011, 2016) and the editor of Beyond Prime Time: Television Programming in the Post-Network Era (2009). Amanda will contribute a completely new chapter on TV in the digital, online age.

Please watch this site for further updates on our progress.