Color by Fox: The Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television

Paperback | March 1, 1999

byKristal Brent Zook

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Following the overwhelming success of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s, an unprecedented shift took place in television history: white executives turned to black dollars as a way of salvaging network profits lost to videocassettes and cable TV. Not only were African-American viewers watchingdisproportionately more network television than the general population but, as Nielsen finally realized, they preferred black shows. As a result, African-American producers, writers, directors, and stars were given an unusual degree of creative control over shows such as "The Fresh Prince of BelAir," "Roc," "Living Single," Martin, and "New York Undercover." Locating a persistent black nationalist desire--a yearning for home and community--in shows produced by and for African Americans, Kristal Brent Zook shows how these productions revealed complex and contradictory politics of gender, sexuality, and class. Incorporating interviews with such prominentexecutives, producers, and stars as Keenen Ivory Wayans, Quincy Jones, Robert Townsend, Charles Dutton, and Yvette Lee Bowser, this study looks at both production and reception among African-American viewers. Zook provides nuanced readings of the shows themselves as well as the political andhistorical contexts in which they emerged. Though much of black television during this time was criticized for being "trivial" or "buffoonish," Color by Fox reveals its deep-rooted ties to African-American protest literature, autobiography, and a collective desire for social transformation.

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Following the overwhelming success of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s, an unprecedented shift took place in television history: white executives turned to black dollars as a way of salvaging network profits lost to videocassettes and cable TV. Not only were African-American viewers watchingdisproportionately more network television than ...

Kristal Brent Zook , Ph.D., has written about culture, race, feminism, and politics for publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The L.A. Weekly, Vibe, Emerge, and The Source.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 5.39 × 8.11 × 0.51 inPublished:March 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195106121

ISBN - 13:9780195106121

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"Fascinating and in-depth...Color by Fox is a very well-written and intriguing book...easily accessible for anyone and hard to put down." --Tri-City Herald, Pasco, West Virginia