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Which Is It ?

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  • Which Is It ?

    TV talking heads refer to their air time as a 'show'. Are they 'shows' or 'programs' ?


    My thinking is a 'show' is directed at a entertainment element, a 'program' is more information dissemination.

  • #2
    I don't believe there is a definitive answer. I'm more nitpicky than most about language but I don't have a problem using the terms interchangeably. Your take on it makes sense, but I'd not say that a different take is necessarily wrong.

    Frequently "show" is really just a shortened form of "showing," i.e. "On tonight's show, we'll take a look at ...." So in that case, "show" works whether it's entertainment or information.

    Frequently "program" is actually a shortened form of "programming." Things get a little hairy here, because technically, "program" or "programming" in that sense should mean the whole set of series, episodes, showings, shows, programs, etc. that a channel or network puts out. The Last Alaskans, for example, is one show included in The Discovery Channel's survival programming -- as opposed to Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch, which are shows about work.

    Of course, a good many things on TV are meant to be both entertaining and informative -- so where do we go with that?

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    • #3
      I think you're onto something Jim. Those talking heads, if they call it show, expect to be entertained, if they say program they might be trying to inform.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
        I don't believe there is a definitive answer. I'm more nitpicky than most about language but I don't have a problem using the terms interchangeably. Your take on it makes sense, but I'd not say that a different take is necessarily wrong.

        Frequently "show" is really just a shortened form of "showing," i.e. "On tonight's show, we'll take a look at ...." So in that case, "show" works whether it's entertainment or information.

        Frequently "program" is actually a shortened form of "programming." Things get a little hairy here, because technically, "program" or "programming" in that sense should mean the whole set of series, episodes, showings, shows, programs, etc. that a channel or network puts out. The Last Alaskans, for example, is one show included in The Discovery Channel's survival programming -- as opposed to Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch, which are shows about work.

        Of course, a good many things on TV are meant to be both entertaining and informative -- so where do we go with that?
        https://ell.stackexchange.com/questi...ngeable-in-ame.

        I like the example when you look in the paper you look for program guide, not show guide.
        Interesting.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

          https://ell.stackexchange.com/questi...ngeable-in-ame.

          I like the example when you look in the paper you look for program guide, not show guide.
          Interesting.
          Yeah, like I said, I think they're pretty much interchangeable. Plus it's just the way our language is. Saying "our show tonight" or whatever is just easier. I had an English teacher in high school who would not allow us to say "quotes" when properly we should have said, "quotations." He told us that the word "quote" is never a noun, only a verb.

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          • #6
            If it is part of a series, it could be called an episode.

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