Viewers for Quality Television (VQT) emerged from the successful grassroots campaign of founder Dorothy Swanson to save the series Cagney & Lacey. Eight months after the drama returned to the air-with the help of the
show’s producer Barney Rosenzweig-Swanson’s group gained significant media attention and popular support. In 1984 she founded VQT and galvanized over 1500 advocates for innovative and enriching television programming.
For the past 12 years, VQT has been the recognized and credible forum for discerning viewers. Prior to the formation of this group, there was no system in place where viewers could voice their opinions collectively to those responsible for the fate of programs. The organization, whose endorsements continue to be an important part of many programs’ bids for survival, has succeeded in convincing network executives to reconsider shows such as Designing Women, Homefront, China Beach, I’ll Fly Away, and most recently, The Practice, which were scheduled to be canceled.
Documenting the efforts of one grassroots organization that made a difference, Swanson’s story extends beyond the realm of television to demonstrate the rewards of making the voice of public opinion heard.
Dorothy Collins Swanson, the founder and president of Viewers for Quality Television, lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
Series: Television and Popular Culture
6 x 9, 280 pages, 23 black and white illustrations