College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Summer 8-25-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media and Cinema Studies

First Advisor

Paul Booth

Second Advisor

Kelly Kessler


This thesis argues that two current and prevalent television industry shifts—the plethora of reboots and revivals on network television, and forthcoming studio-owned streaming services—are the result of the popularity of past series with audiences on streaming services. I first argue for a focus on the specifics of the series themselves, over the greater trend as a whole in order to determine the validity of these shifts. Approaching each series with the questions “Why then?” and “Why now?” this thesis examines two series from NBC’s famous Must-See TV programming block, Friends (1994-2004) and ER (1994-2009), that have reemerged in popularity with the target 18-49-year-old audience due to their availability on streaming platforms Netflix and Hulu respectively. Through the analysis of data from two audience surveys, one of viewers of Friends on Netflix and one of viewers of ER on Hulu, I argue that while nostalgia plays a significant role in their appeal, understanding how each series is engaged with by its viewers is critical in answering to the validity of the industry response to their popularity.

Included in

Communication Commons