How to Cite a TV Show in Chicago Author–Date Referencing
  • 3-minute read
  • 23rd September 2020

How to Cite a TV Show in Chicago Author–Date Referencing

Seen a TV show that is relevant to an essay you’re writing? If so, make sure you know how to cite your televisual sources! In this post, we explain how to cite a TV show using Chicago author–date referencing.

How to Cite a TV Show in Chicago Author–Date Referencing

As with any source in Chicago author–date referencing, you’ll need to give basic source details in brackets when you cite a TV show in the text.

However, since TV shows don’t have an author or publication date in the same way as a print source, you’ll need to cite:

  • The main creator, such as a director or writer. Pick the person most relevant to your work (e.g., if you’re discussing the script, cite the writer).
  • The year the broadcast cited first aired on television.

For instance, we could cite a documentary like this:

Once Upon a Time in Iraq (Bluemel, 2020) was widely praised.

Here, we cite the surname of the director, James Bluemel, plus the year the documentary first aired. We’d then give full source information in the reference list at the end of the document.

And if you quote a TV show, you can include a time stamp. This works like page numbers in a print source, indicating the part of the source cited:

The interviewee says he “misses Saddam” (Bluemel, 2020, 00:45:12).

In the example above, for instance, the time stamp shows that we’re quoting something from 45 minutes and 12 seconds into the episode.

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TV Shows in a Chicago Reference List

You’ll need to add any TV shows you cite in your work to a reference list at the end of your document. The format to use here is:

Surname, First Name, role. Year. Name of TV Show. Season and episode number, “Episode Title.” Featured contributors. Date and channel of first airing. Medium or URL.

You won’t always need all this information. For example, you’ll only need to mention featured contributors (e.g., actors or presenters) if they’re relevant to your work. But make sure you provide enough information for readers to find the version of the show or episode you’ve cited.

You can see a couple of example references for TV shows below:

Bluemel, James, dir. 2020. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Season 1, episode 3, “Fallujah.” Aired July 15, 2020, on BBC 2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08kr4ws/once-upon-a-time-in-iraq-series-1-3-fallujah.

Chapman, Graham, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, writers. 1972. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Season three, episode 9, “The Nude Man.” Directed by Ian MacNaughton. Aired December 14, 1972, on BBC1. Sony Pictures, 2007, DVD.

Do you feel confident about citing a TV show using Chicago author–date referencing yet? If not, feel free to leave a question in the comments below. And don’t forget that we have expert academic editors available to help you make sure your referencing is error free every time.

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