Los Angeles | In-Person

Can Television Bring America Together?

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” Event
Moderated by John Bowman, Emmy Award-winning writer and creator of Martin

We the people of the United States of America are one nation divided—not just by politics and geography but also by targeted marketing and a thousand cable channels. Today, the notion of TV as a shared experience is dying, and there are very few attempts to make shows that appeal to more than one audience at a time. But does it have to be this way? Within the entertainment industry, a few players are talking about creating entertainment that builds bridges, via story lines and marketing, between different demographics and audiences: black and white, rural and urban, red state and blue. What strategies are they using to remake TV into a medium that unites the country? Humorist, TV writer, and former executive producer of Modern Family Dan O’Shannon, Jane the Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, and Gloria Calderon Kellett, co-showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s One Day at a Time, discuss how TV might help us all get along.

Landmark Theatres
10850 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Underground parking available off Pico and Westwood Blvds. First three hours free; two additional hours can be validated for $3 at machines adjacent to the concession stand near the box office.

The Takeaway

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 …