On Monday night, Dodge College launched its brand new course, The New Era of Television, on the Sony Pictures lot with an amazing panel of some of today’s most influential people in entertainment. The panel included Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, and AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll. The panel was moderated by Ross Brown, who also is teaching the course.
The panel discussed with students where the small-screen medium of television has been in the past, its current role in the entertainment world, and where it is going in the future.
It was a unanimous agreement between all the panelists that, while movies are nowhere near dead, all the great television shows being produced are on equal footing with movies now. They further went on to explain that, in the past, there was a certain stigmata about film directors “stepping down” to do TV, and that just isn’t the case any longer. Many directors are making the jump to TV, because it allows them to tell their stories better, in some ways.
“In the past, there were standalone episodes,” Ed Carroll said. “But now, a storyline can span an entire season. There’s a wider landscape to tell stories on TV, because you can always go back to an episode you may have missed and watch it on demand.”
“We can now treat an original program as 13 one-hour movies, because the business culture has changed,” said Ted Sarandos, when referring to the original programming that is becoming more commonplace on Netflix. “We’re working with big names, like Baz Luhrmann and the Wachowski brothers on projects, and that’s something we’ve never been able to do in the past.”
Though, just because the on-demand nature of some series is so commonplace now, that doesn’t mean the traditional model of prime-time TV is going anywhere.
“Binge watching is a fun way to watch shows,” Carroll said. “But what’s also fun is the communal feeling of watching at an allotted time and then discussing it. No one wants to miss a show and then hear others talks about it. The social aspect of it endures.”
“As long as there are live events, there will be linear ways to watch TV,” Sarandos agreed.
However, television shows are going to continue to expand, become more and more important in the ever change landscape of entertainment.
“TV shows are so large now that it feels more like you are consuming films in your own home,” Steve Mosko said. “In a lot of ways, the entertainment business is now driven by the TV business, not the movie business.”
In all, the students walked away from the event with a deeper understanding of how important the medium of television is, and just where these companies are aiming to go with it in the future.
This semester, The New Era of Television course will continue the conversation about television’s role in the industry, and bring guest speakers to Dodge College every week to talk about it. Our students live in a unique time, just at the cusp of a shifting in entertainment, so to have the opportunity to speak to people in the industry about the changing tide is a great opportunity for them.
To read more about the event this past Monday, check out these articles from