Talk About Television

I’ve already posted before about discussing movies and books but sometimes you need some extra vocabulary to talk about television.


Some different kinds of television show are:

  • News
  • The weather forecast/report
  • Current affairs programme
  • Like the news but more detailed and with discussion between experts.

  • Documentary
  • Documentaries are often about current affairs, too, but only one topic for the whole show.

  • Reality show
  • Reality shows are not actually ‘real’ but are usually shows following a celebrity or a group of people and the television company set up situations so that the people behave in an interesting or terrible way.

  • Serial drama
  • This could be something like Doctor Who or 24. Basically it is a drama that runs regularly for a season.

  • Soap opera
  • Soap operas are special serial dramas and they don’t usually end at the end of a season but keep running. They usually feature families or small communities.

  • Variety show
  • A variety show is usually light entertainment such as song, comedy and dancing.

  • Daytime show
  • This has a wide range of features from cooking, family problems and ordinary people’s experiences.

  • Panel discussion
  • A group of people discussing topics, usually in the news but sometimes celebrities.

  • Talk show
  • People talking, usually a host and a celebrity but sometimes ordinary people.

  • Comedy show
  • Sometimes different skits and sketches (like Saturday Night Live), sometimes…

  • Sitcom
  • This is a comedy where the same characters are in the same situation each week. It’s like a funny drama. Friends was a popular sitcom.

  • Panel quiz
  • Usually people answer questions about a theme and sometimes give funny answers. A lot of comedians are guests on panel quizzes.

  • Game show
  • A game show is different to a panel quiz because it is very competitive and people can win money.

  • Talent contest
  • Sport
  • Cooking show
  • Home improvement show
  • Infomercial
  • This is an advertisement that looks like a real television programme.


The channel is owned by a broadcasting company. Some popular channels worldwide are BBC World, ESPN, Eurosport and Nickelodeon.

Time slot

Usually people ask “What time is it on?” to talk about a programme’s time slot.


“What time is Newsnight on?”
“It’s on at ten o’clock on BBC Two.”