Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney & Lacey by Julie D'Acci

By Julie D'Acci

Defining ladies explores the social and cultural building of gender and the meanings of girl, girls, and femininity as they have been negotiated within the pioneering tv sequence Cagney and Lacey, starring ladies as manhattan urban police detectives. Julie D'Acci illuminates the tensions among the tv undefined, the sequence creation staff, the mainstream and feminist press, a variety of curiosity teams, and tv audience over competing notions of what ladies may possibly or couldn't be—not in basic terms on tv yet in society at large.Cagney and Lacey, which aired from 1981 to 1988, was once widely known as an leading edge remedy of operating girls and built a wide and constant following. whereas learning this e-book, D'Acci had unheard of entry to the set, to creation conferences, and to the whole creation records, together with correspondence from community executives, exposure organisations, and hundreds of thousands of audience. She lines the usually heated debates surrounding the improvement of ladies characters and the illustration of feminism on prime-time tv, indicates how the sequence was once reconfigured as a 'woman's program,' and investigates questions of woman spectatorship and feminist readings. even though she specializes in Cagney and Lacey, D'Acci discusses many different examples from the background of yankee tv.

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TO FRAN CONTENTS Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Women Characters and "Real World" Femininity 10 Chapter 2 A Women's Audience 63 Chapter 3 A Woman's Program 105 Chapter 4 Negotiating Feminism 142 Chapter 5 Female/Feminine/Feminist Audiences, Spectators, and Readings 168 Conclusion 204 Notes 211 Episode Script: "A Cry for Help" 259 Index 325 ILLUSTRATIONS Cagney and Lacey cocreators Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday 18 Tyne Daly and Loretta Swit as Mary Beth Lacey and Christine Cagney 22 TV Guide advertisement for the Cagney and Lacey made-for-TV movie 23 Loretta Swit and Tyne Daly as the original Cagney and Lacey 24 Meg Foster in the original opening credits for the TV series 26 The second Cagney and Lacey team discusses a case 27 Meg Foster and Tyne Daly in the original opening credits 36 Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless in the opening credits for the revised series 37 Sharon Gless as the new Cagney 40 Barney Rosenzweig and the cast of the Gless/Daly series 50 National Examiner cover with photo of Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless 53 People cover story on the breast cancer episodes 56 Cover of 1985 Dell paperback by Serita Deborah Stevens 60 Page x Ms.

On prime-time television, a number of industry and social conditions combined to spawn a collection of amazingly paradoxical depictions. As Eileen Meehan demonstrates, by 1970 the A. C. Nielsen Company (which measures the television audience and publishes series "ratings") had changed its fixed group of designated Nielsen "families" from a sample that dated back to its surveys of radio audiences, replacing it with younger and more urban households. Also, CBS discovered that, although its programming was bringing in more total viewers than the other networks, its five "owned and operated" stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and St.

6 million budget that, in true catch-22 fashion, prohibited the hiring of such high-priced actresses. 20 In 1980 Rosenzweig decided to try again. This time he pitched the idea to the television networks as a pilot for a weekly series. Corday and Avedon reconceived the script, updating it and making it less of a spoof and more of a "realistic" crime drama. Because Corday, by this time, had taken a job as vice-president of comedy development at ABC, Barbara Avedon wrote the actual script herself.

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