Since the beginning of television addressing social issues has been a constant problem for those working in TV. Back in the day, rebellious writers had to depend on executive producers who were little more than salesmen when it came to convincing networks that relevance mattered. Now that writers have taken over most of the executive producer chairs, writers have to fight their own battles. How are they doing?
How the Biggest TV Shows are Weaving in the Big Issues
by Jennifer Swann
ring the season finale of the hugely popular Fox soap opera Empire Wednesday night, the show sent more than a few socially charged messages to its loyal audience of more than 16 million. During a press conference in one scene, the singer Patti LaBelle gives a shout-out to Black Lives Matter by announcing that proceeds from a concert with Rita Ora, Juicy J, and Jennifer Hudson will benefit the activist movement.
The hip-hop family drama not only blends real-life pop stars into its fictional record label but also folds of-the-moment issues such as LGBT rights and mental illness into the glitzy, melodramatic story lines—without interrupting the show’s fantastical narrative, which often hinges on sex, money, drugs, and violence.