CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

If TV Wants to Bring America Together, It Needs to Show Bipartisan Empathy

Understand Every Character You Write and Avoid “Preachiness and Condescension”

“Can television bring America together?” asked writer John Bowman, the moderator of a panel posing that question. He immediately answered his own query with, “God knows I’ve tried.” And so began a lively and engaged conversation between Bowman and several other writers and creators of television shows that have challenged traditional cultural and social boundaries.

The discussion, before a full house at a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” event at the Landmark Theaters in Los Angeles, explored both the opportunities and the obstacles in trying to bridge seemingly vast cultural divides via TV.

Bowman, an Emmy award-winning writer and creator of Martin, described his experience in 1995 as “the white head writer of a black show” called The Show. “I wanted to explore racial issues in an integrated show,” he said. “It was the best reviewed …