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How to Cite a Television Program Using MLA Style


To cite a television show for liberal arts or humanities research, you will often need to use Modern Language Association style, which can be found in the seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers." You can cite an original broadcast of a television show or a recorded episode.

Television Broadcast

To cite the broadcast of a television show, include the title of the episode in quotation marks, the name of the television show in italics, the network name, the television station call letters if there are any, the station city if there is one, and the date of broadcast followed by the medium. For example, if you were citing an episode of Doctor Who titled “Listen,” watched on its original air date of September 13, 2014 on BBC America, your works cited citation would be: “Listen.” Doctor Who (in italics). BBC America. BBCA, New York. 13 Sept. 2014. Television. The in-text citation would be the title of the episode in quotation marks within parentheses, as follows: (“Listen”).

Recording

To cite a recorded television show, include the episode name in quotation marks, the television show name or the title of the DVD or VHS in italics, the distributor name and distribution date, followed by the medium. For example, if you were citing the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace,” from a DVD titled “Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series,” your works cited citation would be: “The Girl in the Fireplace.” Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (in italics). BBC Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD. Additionally, you may choose to include information about the writer, director, performers, or producers in the citation between the title and distributor name. For example, you might add in: Writ. Steven Moffat. Dir. Euros Lyn. Perf. David Tennant between "Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series" and "BBC Home Entertainment." The in-text citation for the same episode would be: (“The Girl in the Fireplace”).

About the Author

Molly MaGuire has a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Master of Science in international relations. She has taught at the university level for more than seven years and has worked as an instructional designer for more than nine years. She enjoys researching and discussing topics such as education, politics and technology.

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