AMERICAN TELEVISION TODAY


In the early 21st century television, which was developed in the 1930s,
is by far the most dominant communications medium that delivers content to
millions of viewers simultaneously. Since replacing radio in the 1950s as
the most popular medium, television has been repeatedly criticized as the
biggest factor underlying violence, teenage sex, gender and race
stereotyping. But there is another side to this story. Television is the
only medium which can offer special moments - inaugurations, space
disasters and conquests, the Olympics, impeachment hearings. Television
brings multicultural groups of society together for shared information,
triumphs and mourning - for common experiences.
Watching TV is one of America's favorite pastimes. More than 98 percent
of the homes in America - more than 100 million homes - have at least one
TV set. American viewers have a lot of choices. About 70 percent of all
homes subscribe to cable and the typical TV household today receives 82
different channels of programming. To find your way in American television
you need to know how it is structured and organized.

1.1. Read the following text and fill in the numbered gaps choosing from
the paragraphs A-H the one which fits each gap (1-7) in the text. There is
one paragraph you do not need to use.


The problem with American television is that there's so much of it!


The problem of describing American television is simply this: there's so
much of it, so many different types, and so much variety. There are over
1,700 TV stations in operation today. The stations can be divided into two
categories: commercial and noncommercial.


|1. |


The majority of Americans watch commercial television. These stations
receive most of their programming from commercial networks, the oldest and
biggest of which are: ABC (the American Broadcasting Company), CBS (the
Columbia Broadcasting System), NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) and
Fox, or FBS (the Fox Broadcasting Company). Each of the networks may own as
many as 12 TV stations and have contracts with privately owned stations -
called affiliated stations - that carry the network's programming under
various financial arrangements.


|2. |


The local television business relies on sales to local and regional
advertisers. Local television stations also have their own news teams,
reporters, and film crews. Usually, local television stations will offer
between half an hour to two hours of local, city, and state news, weather
and business information in addition to the national network news programs.
The most-successful local TV stations are those owned and operated by a
major network.


|3. |


Cable television has grown in recent years to become an important
component of the television landscape. Cable is in more than two-thirds of
America's TV homes. Cable consumers usually choose programming from basic
cable services, which are part of one monthly fee, and premium cable
services which are available individually to customers at an extra monthly
or per-use fee.


|4. |


Two basic cable channels - CNN and MTV - have made their mark both on
American society and on global culture. The Cable News Network (CNN), the
brain child of Ted Turner, was the first channel in the world to provide a
twenty-four-hour news service. This format enables CNN to provide more
timely news in greater detail, often offering live, unedited coverage. CNN
mastered continuous coverage of breaking news events such as natural
disasters, terrorist attacks. Today CNN appears in more than 200 countries
around the globe, more than one billion people have access to its service.


|5. |


Besides basic programming, cable offers a wide range of special
channels, known as premium channels, and other services. These include
movie channels such as HBO (Home Box Office) and Showtime; pay-per-view
(PPV) programs and interactive (two-way) services that enable consumers to
use their televisions to bank, shop, play games, and access the Internet.
Not all TV stations are in it for the money (at least not overtly).
Nearly 400 TV stations are considered noncommercial operations. These
stations, owned primarily by governmental organizations, universities and
school boards, and religious organizations, form the backbone of the Public
Broadcasting System (PBS).


|6. |


PBS is especially well-known for the quality of its many education TV
programs, National Geographic specials, and Scientific American Frontiers
form the bases for some. Programs for children such as Barney & Friends
continue PBS's tradition of quality TV for preschoolers, and established
series such as Live from Lincoln Center broadcast the best in music and
opera, live and free. The highest-rated PBS series of all time was Ken
Burn's The Civil War.
In the