TV

TV is one of the world's biggest businesses. Learn all about TV entertainment, the television industry and popular TV shows.


Ever wondered how reality TV shows really film all of that unscripted insanity? No need to wonder any longer. One of the HowStuffWorks writers tells what happened when reality TV came knocking on her door.

Oh, reality TV: fights, scheming, double-crossing, tears and drama. All of this "unscripted" reality can't possibly be real. So what's real, and what's fake in reality TV?

"Gunsmoke." "Law & Order." "The Simpsons." All of them long-running TV classics, which makes you wonder: Which TV show had the longest run in television history? The answer may surprise you.

Sure, we all feel like stars singing in the shower or into a hairbrush in the bedroom. But most of us don't feel confident enough in our vocal abilities to pursue our musical dreams. Is that why we live vicariously through singing competitions?

Ah, the charmed life of a TV actor: have one big hit TV show and then live like a king for years once all of those royalty checks start rolling in. Is that how royalties really work?

The public's knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes of our favorite TV shows is usually pretty good. We often know who most of the writers, producers and executive producers are. Now we're learning a new term: showrunner.

You can hear an awful lot of foul language when watching your favorite movies or shows — as long as they air on cable or the Internet. Who decides which words are too hot for broadcast TV?

American television networks have adapted British shows left and right. But a number of original British programs – er, make that programmes – have become hits with U.S. audiences, no translation necessary.

What was once considered obscene and indecent on television is laughable by today's standards. But shows have pushed boundaries as long as there's been TV. Which have given the FCC and network censors the most stress?

Must be a lot of fun to be on a TV game show, getting all of that attention (and not to mention all of those cool prizes!). What really goes on behind the scenes of your favorite game shows?

From highbrow content (politics, literature) to more unrefined fare (paternity tests, cheating spouses), talk shows have been on the tube for as long as there has been television.

Cable TV is ubiquitous now, but a little more than 50 years ago it was the unique, exotic way to see your favorite TV programs. What made cable TV a staple?

It's a sure sign of spring in New York. Flowers? No, TV's upfront presentations. TV networks use upfronts to show off their new shows, and rake in advertisers' money.

Those cable access channels you flip through may sometimes be the butt of jokes, but public access TV serves an important function in many communities.

Whipping up a four-course meal looks so easy when one of those TV chefs does it. But in reality, it takes a small army of chefs, producers and technical wizards to pull off cooking shows.

Want to watch your favorite TV show tonight but won't be home? That's not a problem, with TV Everywhere. It's rapidly changing how we watch TV.

You think binge-watching your favorite show weeks after its episodes air will help pump up its ratings? Think again. Live+3 television ratings metrics have changed things considerably.

The average TV commercial is 30 seconds. So they should be fairly easy to shoot, right? Just slap together a concept, a product and some actors and that should do it. Not so fast, TV commercial production gets super complex really quickly.

"Seinfeld" will forever be known as the best "show about nothing." But is it also an homage to Superman?

Authors, songwriters and even playwrights receive royalties as payment for their copyrighted works. So what about actors -- do they get royalties when their movies or TV shows are seen over and over?

Streaming TV shows online seems like it makes sense for the networks. So why aren't all shows available via the Internet? We'll explain.

If you've ever watched a Hollywood film on your TV, you've watched a TV-ready movie. It's quite a job for film editors to get a film TV-ready. We'll explain the process.

You know you can't wait until the season premiere of your favorite show. But have you ever wondered why the networks' new seasons start in the fall? You might be surprised by the answer.

When CNN debuted in 1980, the 24-hour news network was taking a leap into the unknown. Now we can get our news anywhere, anytime thanks to tablets, smartphones and the Internet. Could 24-hour news stations could be gone in our lifetime?

Imagine never having to pay for C-SPAN. It's a possibility if a la carte cable ever comes to fruition.