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Old 04-03-2004, 01:45 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is online now
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Who Writes the Show Summaries in TV Guide?

Is it the job of a TV Guide™ copywriter to watch advance tapes and include write a summary? Or do the production companies (or networks) send a description?

I ask because the Malcolm in the Middle summaries all seem to follow this pattern: [concept] + [verb] + [character]. For example:

"Cooking energizes Reese."

"Dating confuses Malcolm."

"Overwork enrages Francis."

Whereas the Survivor summaries all say "A [nth] contestant is voted off the island."
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Old 04-03-2004, 03:24 PM
TJdude825 TJdude825 is offline
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I'll bet a lot of shows could use specific formulas. The first example to come to mind is Joan of Arcadia:

God tells Joan to [something]. She gets stressed out. Tensions run high among her family. She still doesn't understand The Plan.
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Old 04-03-2004, 03:35 PM
Lisa-go-Blind Lisa-go-Blind is offline
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Sorry, I can't help you, but that reminds me of the movie listings in the back of the TV Guide/TV Weekly. Does the magazine have someone watch the movies and write a one-sentence review? Because there are star ratings involved, it doesn't make sense to me that the company syndicating these movies or the network airing them would write the reviews, and all the reviews are in the same style.
Old 04-03-2004, 05:23 PM
guy_from_wpa guy_from_wpa is offline
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My best friend's wife has been a listings editor at TV Guide for the last 14 years, so I've heard a lot about the joint.

The copywriters get advanced tapes, watch them and write the copy. Apparently they write the program listing several lengths so the listing is understandable no matter where it is used (magazine listing, TV Guide channel, TV, etc.) Sometimes for shows that they want to keep the plot secret, they will use a network provided copy.

Its always fun to go to their house to watch TV, especially when she has a bunch of new season shows to watch.
Old 04-03-2004, 06:28 PM
Murcielago Murcielago is offline
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Don't know about TV Guide, though the listings provided by Tribune Media Services for my daily paper are often amusing. Summaries for the syndicated episodes of the Law & Order shows are the best. About 70% of the time they are:

Law & Order: Murder.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Rape.

Dammit, they are always showing those two episodes. I get that they don't have space for a proper synopsis, I just don't know why they bother at all.
Old 04-03-2004, 09:22 PM
KidCharlemagne KidCharlemagne is offline
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My favorite blurb/reviews are from the New York Times Television Guide. I get the feeling the writer is a woman (always meant to confirm that) and some of the reviewettes are just priceless.
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Old 04-03-2004, 11:21 PM
Beauty Personified Beauty Personified is offline
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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Rape.
I believe the original title of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was Law & Order: Rape.
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Old 04-04-2004, 01:26 AM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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Before our cable company changed to a newer (far suckier) digital listings company, I used to play the "guess the X-File epsiode from the description" game. At least 15% of the episodes were billed as " Mulder and Scully investigate a murder in a small town" so it made it a challenge
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