Viewers for Quality Television - Founded in 1984,
this nonprofit consumer group was dedicated to rescuing critically acclaimed
programs from cancellation despite their Nielsen program rating. The history of
the now defunct organization can be found in the book "The Story of Viewers for
Quality Television: Grassroots to Prime Time" by Dorothy Swanson (Syracuse
University Press, 2000).
Initially, Swanson started VQT after conducting a one-woman campaign to save
her favorite TV show CAGNEY & LACEY and later writing campaigns to postpone
cancellation of such TV programs as ST. ELSEWHERE, DESIGNING WOMEN, FRANK'S
PLACE, QUANTUM LEAP, SPORTS NIGHT and PARTY OF FIVE.
Unfortunately, the VQT
disbanded in January 2001. The reason? Simply put, "The organization is out of
money" reported Swanson, the President and co-founder.
During its 16 year
existence, the VQT presented the "Q" Award. The award, voted on by the viewers,
nominated actors based on the "quality" of their acting over an entire season
rather that "popularity."
In 2000, VQT awarded their “seal of quality” to WB's
new Gilmore Girls and 15 returning series:
- Ally McBeal (Fox)
- Any Day Now
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (WB)
- Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
- Frasier (NBC)
- Law & Order (NBC)
- Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
- Malcolm in the Middle
- NYPD Blue (ABC)
- Once and Again (ABC)
- The Sopranos (HBO)
- The Practice (ABC)
- The West Wing (NBC)
- Will & Grace (NBC)
- The X-Files (Fox).
demise of VQT other groups like the Wisconsin-based Viewer's Voice, Inc. and the
Parent's Television Council continue the good fight for quality television.
TRIVIA NOTE: When sending your comments to a TV
network be sure to include your age, address, occupation as well as what about
the show (Plotlines, characters, etc.) make you a fan of the program. TIP. To
make sure your letter gets to the network President (rather that the program's
producers), do not include the name of the show on the envelop.
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