Monkey See
8:57 am
Tue September 18, 2012

The 25 Magic Words Of American Television

Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 11:13 am

Tonight, two new fall shows premiere: Mob Doctor, which is about a doctor who works for the mob, and Revolution, which is about a devastating global power outage and — more than that — a revolution.

Neither of these shows particularly requires your attention, but taken together, they emphasize that essentially, all you need to make a show is the right combination of title-friendly words. In fact, if you take the correct 25 words, you can combine them (often in either order!) to create all the television we will see in the next ten years. These 25 words hold the key to American commercial television. These are the only 25 words you need. Any combination of two — any combination of two -- would make an entirely plausible, fairly easily imaginable broadcast or cable series. Don't believe me? Try out the 25 Magic Television Words for yourself.

MOB

DOCTOR

LAW

JUSTICE

CUPCAKE

CHICAGO

FORCE

911

STORM

REVOLUTION

HEAT

FOREVER

TEAM

PETS

AMERICA

CELEBRITY

ALASKA

TRUCKER

LOVE

MYSTERY

WARS

COUNTRY

REAL

DINER

FASHION

If you don't believe me, try the exercise. Any two of those words can become, together, the title of a new show. Very often, combinations are reversible — Trucker Love is clearly a dating show, while Love Trucker would be a Hallmark movie about a man who transports candy hearts for Valentine's Day and gets stuck in a small town where the adorable local mechanic who happens to be a single mom has to get him back on the road in time to deliver his candy for the big day. See how easy? (DO NOT RIP OFF LOVE TRUCKER. You know who you are.)

Try it yourself. These 25 words are all you need.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.