Television: Popping the Question

TV programmers have long been concerned—and confounded— with theproblem of viewer participation. Just how can they get their audiences to feel some sense of involvement with that big cold impersonal thing staring across the living room? The latest answer is to ask a question.

The Big Question, Voice of the Peopie or Televote, as it is variously known, is a simple and inexpensive scheme. The station introduces a question on the early-evening newscast and invites the viewers to register their opinions—on a mix-or-match basis—by dialing one of two telephone numbers (one for yes votes, the other for no). Ten or more receivers...

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