There is no place like home: NBC's search for a daytime audience, 1954‐1957

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Abstract

In 1954 NBC launched Home, a daytime program aimed at women that was meant to complement NBC's non‐primetime Today and Tonight shows. The hour‐long program was hosted by Arlene Francis and broadcast between 11 AM and noon to a national audience. This article examines Home and assesses its role in U.S. broadcasting history. Although Home's reign was shortlived—it went off the air in 1957—it was remarkable in several respects. First, it was the first major network program geared explicitly to an audience of housewives. Second, it pioneered the “magazine” concept of advertising support, a sponsoring structure which allowed broadcasters, rather than the advertisers, to be in charge of editorial content. By the 1960s this became the dominant form of advertising‐network relationship across commercial television. Yet, as Home demonstrates, despite claims to the contrary, this new format did not undermine the overwhelming commercialism of the show's editorial content, it only altered the way it operated. Third, the demise of Home was due in no small part to the inability of NBC to provide its target audience of women with the programming they seemingly wanted. Class bias and sexism combined with commercialism to provide a program that was simply uninteresting to many women in the 1950s. In short, women were not drawn to a show built around their experiences as consumers and oriented toward the promotion of advertisers’ products.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-161
JournalCommunication Review
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997

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