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Encyclopedia > Made for TV

A television movie (also known as a TV film, TV movie, TV-movie, feature-length drama, made-for-TV movie, movie of the week (MOTW or MOW), single drama, telemovie, telefilm, or two-hour-long drama) is a film that is produced for and originally distributed by a television network. Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... A television network is a distribution network for television content whereby a central operation provides programming for many television stations. ...


The term "made-for-TV movie" was coined in the United States in the early 1960s as an advertising gimmick to encourage even larger numbers of the cinema-going audience to stay home and watch television, on the premise that they were going to see the equivalent of a major, first-run theatrical motion picture in the comfort of their own homes. The first of these made-for-TV movies is generally acknowledged to be See How They Run, which debuted on NBC on 7 October 1964. The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... NBC, formerly called the National Broadcasting Company, is an American television broadcasting company based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... For the Nintendo 64 emulator, see 1964 (Emulator). ...


These events originally filled a 90-minute time slot (including commercials), later expanded to two hours, and were usually broadcast as a weekly anthology series (for example, the ABC Movie of the Week). Most TV movies featured major stars, and some were accorded even higher budgets than standard series television programs of the same length, including the major dramatic anthology programs which they came to replace.


One very popular and critically acclaimed TV movie was 1971's Duel directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Dennis Weaver. Such were the quality and popularity of Duel that it was released to cinemas in Europe and later the US. Another was Brian's Song, which also saw theatrical release. However, many 1970s TV movies were a source of controversy, such as Linda Blair's movies Born Innocent and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, as well as Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn, which were vehicles for former Brady Bunch actress Eve Plumb. Duel is a 1971 television movie directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Richard Matheson, starring Dennis Weaver and a Peterbilt 351 logging truck. ... Steven Spielberg Steven Allan Spielberg, KBE (born December 18, 1946) is an American film director. ... McCloud featuring Dennis Weaver William Dennis Weaver (June 4, 1924 â€“ February 24, 2006) was an American television actor, best known for his roles as sidekick Chester Goode from 1955 to 1964 on TVs first adult Western Gunsmoke, as Marshal Sam McCloud on the NBC police drama McCloud, which ran... World map showing Europe Europe is conventionally considered one of the seven continents of Earth which, in this case, is more a cultural and political distinction than a physiogeographic one. ... Brians Song is a 1971 made-for-TV movie, recalling the details of the life of Brian Piccolo (James Caan), a football player stricken with a deadly illness and his friendship with Chicago Bears teammate Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) who helps him through the difficult struggle. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... Linda Blair (born January 22, 1959) is an American actress famous for her role as the possessed child in The Exorcist. ... For the Redd Kross album, see Born Innocent (album). ... The Brady Bunch was a U.S. television situation comedy, based around a large blended family. ... Publicity photo of Eve Plumb from The Brady Bunch Leigh McCloskey and Eve Plumb in Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway Eve Plumb (born April 29, 1958 in Burbank, California) is an American actress, who is best known for her role as Jan Brady in the television sitcom The Brady...


Despite their promise to compete with theatrical films, network-made TV movies in the USA have tended to be inexpensively-produced and low quality. The stories are written to reach periodic semi-cliffhangers coinciding with the network-scheduled times for the insertion of commercials; they are further managed to fill, but not exceed, the fixed running times allotted by the network to each movie "series". The movies tend to rely on small casts and a limited range of settings and camera setups. Even Spielberg's Duel, while a well-crafted film, features a very small cast (apart from Weaver, all other acting roles are bit-parts) and mostly outdoors shooting locations in the desert. The movies are typically made by smaller crews, and they rarely feature expensive special effects. Some TV movies are notoriously melodramatic, with soap opera style plots; typical plots associated with the genre include "disease of the week" movies or films about domestic violence. The series of Moment of Truth Movies that run on the Lifetime cable network exemplify these melodramatic tendencies. Certain actresses, such as Valerie Bertinelli, Michele Lee and Nancy McKeon, have been stereotyped as TV actresses due to the number of TV-movies in which they have appeared. A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in which a movie or novel contains an abrupt ending, often leaving the main characters in a precarious or difficult situation. ... From the earliest days of the medium, television has been used as a vehicle for advertising in some countries. ... Special effects (abbreviated SPFX or SFX) are used in the film, television, and entertainment industry to create effects that cannot be achieved by normal means, such as depicting travel to other star systems. ... Poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of Our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... A disease is an abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort, dysfunction, or distress to the person afflicted or those in contact with the person. ... Domestic violence, broadly defined, is violence within a home. ... Moment of Truth Movies are a series of TV movies produced for the Lifetime cable television and movie networks during the 1990s. ... Original logo (1984-1995) 20th Anniversary logo (2004) Lifetime Television, more commonly known as Lifetime, is an American television network which as its tagline notes, is Television for Women. ... Categories: Stub | 1960 births | American actors ... Michele Lee (born on June 24, 1942) is an American singer, dancer, actress, producer, director and frequent game show panelist of the 1970s most known for her role as the beloved matriarch Karen Cooper Fairgate MacKenzie on the 1980s prime-time soap opera, Knots Landing. ... Nancy McKeon, as Joanna Jo Polniaczek on The Facts of Life. ...


TV movies often follow specific naming conventions. For example, the title of many biographical films consist of a dramatic phrase, followed by "The [Firstname] [Surname] Story". Examples of this naming format include Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story, and Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn Story. DVD cover of Patton (1970), one of the most acclaimed biographical films Poster for Man on the Moon (1999), a recent biopic A biographical picture— often shortened to biopic— is a film that dramatizes the life of an actual person or persons. ...


Today the advent of cable television has served to increase the number of venues for the broadcast of TV movies as well as their form. Budgets may be higher and the constraints of writing to fill fixed-time slots while accounting for commercials have been eliminated on the subscription-based cable stations. Conversely, the dispersal of the audience for TV-movies among numerous cable channels with a penchant for "original programming" has resulted in lower budgets, lesser-known performers, and even cheaper effects and settings, along with formulaic writing, on commercial-driven channels.


Often a successful series may spawn a TV movie sequel after ending its run, and TV movies may also be used as the first episode of a series, otherwise known as a pilot. A sequel is a work of fiction in literature, film, and other creative works that is produced after a completed work, and is set in the same universe but at a later time. ... A television pilot is the first episode of an intended television series. ...


TV movies are often broadcast on major networks during sweeps season or on cable networks that specialize in producing them such as Hallmark Channel and HBO. In the United States the sweeps period determines local advertising rates. ... The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts in over 100 countries. ... HBO logo HBO (Home Box Office) is a premium cable television network. ...


There are also TV movies known as "reunion movies," which bring back the cast of TV series. These include:

Return to Mayberry was a television movie made in 1986 on NBC-TV. The show was a reunion movie for the 1960s American television show The Andy Griffith Show. ... Dynasty: The Reunion was a mini-series, produced in 1991 which reunited the characters from the primetime television soap opera Dynasty which had aired on ABC from 1981 to 1989. ... A Very Brady Christmas is a 1988 television movie based on the television series The Brady Bunch, featuring all of the original actors who appeared in the series except Susan Olsen. ... Doctor Who is a television movie based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ...

See also


 
 

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