In Britain last week, commercial television (never to be confused with the state-supervised BBC) celebrated its fifth birthday by repaying the last shilling of the £550,000 government loan that got the enterprise started. Despite such success, critics carped that a Briton's TV set was no longer his castle. The big payoff, wrote the London Evening Standard, was financed by U.S. shows. "Not only are there too many imported programmes on the home screen, but our homebred programmes are becoming more and more influenced by America."

The extent of U.S. influence is as familiar...

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