How to Cite a TV Show in Harvard Referencing
  • 4-minute read
  • 20th July 2020

How to Cite a TV Show in Harvard Referencing

If you’re researching television or simply need to refer to a TV broadcast in your work, it is important to know how to cite a TV series or episode from a show properly. And to help you do this, in this post, we’re looking at how to cite a TV show or episode in Harvard referencing.

Citing a TV Show in Harvard Referencing

To cite a TV show in a document, you need to give the name of the show in italics and the date of broadcast in brackets. For example:

The announcement was met with confusion (CNN Newsroom Live, 2018).

And if you name the source in the text, simply give the date in brackets:

It was announced on CNN Newsroom Live (2018), causing confusion.

However, if you are citing a named episode of a TV series, you should give the episode name in quote marks instead of the show title:

This episode of Friends is well remembered for its catchphrases (“The One with The Morning After,” 1997).

And if you quote part of an episode or broadcast, give a timestamp:

It is in this episode that Ross first says “we were on a break,” a line that would become much repeated in later seasons (“The One with The Morning After,” 1997, 18:34).

Here, for example, we’re citing a line from 18 minutes and 34 seconds into the episode. And by including the timestamp in the citation, readers can find the quoted section themselves if they need to.

Adding a TV Show or Episode to a Harvard Reference List

The format for a TV show in a Harvard reference list depends on the information available. The most basic details to provide for a TV broadcast, though, are as follows:

Title of Show (Year of broadcast) Channel, date of transmission.

For example, we could cite a news broadcast like this:

CNN Newsroom Live (2018) ITV, August 6.

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In other cases, you will need to provide more information. The format for a scripted TV episode would be more like this:

“Title of Episode” (Year of Broadcast) Title of TV show, series number (if available), episode number (if available). Directed by Director’s Name. Written by Writer’s Name. Channel, date of transmission.

So, for instance, we would list an episode of Friends as follows:

“The One with The Morning After” (1997) Friends, season 3, episode 16. Directed by James Burrows. Written by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. NBC, February 20.

And if the show or episode is available online, make sure to include a URL and date of access in the reference:

CNN Newsroom Live (2018) CNN, August 6 [Online]. Available at https://www.cnn.com/shows/newsroom-live (Accessed September 10, 2019).

Referencing a TV Show on DVD

If you watched a TV show on DVD, the reference should look like this:

“Title of episode” (year of release on DVD) Title of TV show, series number if available, episode number if available. Directed by Director’s Name. Written by Writer’s Name. Date of original broadcast, if available [DVD]. Place of distribution if known, Distribution company.

So the Friends episode on DVD would be listed as follows:

“The One with The Morning After” (2010) Friends, season 3, episode 16. Directed by James Burrows. Written by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. First broadcast February 20, 1997 [DVD]. Burbank, Warner Bros.

Harvard Variations and Proofreading

The guidelines above are based on the Open University version of Harvard referencing [PDF]. However, your university may use its own version of this system, so you should always check your style guide for advice, if you have one available, and use the format suggested there.

Whichever version of Harvard referencing you use, though, our academic proofreading experts can help make sure your work is clear, consistent, and error free. Why not submit a free trial document for proofreading today?

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