It is impossible to write about the state of the Image Industry in 2022—film, television, or streamers—without reference to the signal event of summer: the hearings conducted by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, watched more broadly than anyone ever expected. The select committee, which convened those hearings and presented the evidence through in-person testimony with expertly edited digital audio and video materials, delivered the ratings hit of the summer. It was so popular—such dominant water-cooler chat, as they used to say, back when people went to offices—that even channels that had not planned to carry the proceedings abruptly signed on. And the clips and links were everywhere.

The hearings, still ongoing at this writing, marked a pivotal moment in US politics as well as a signal event in the US television production annals. When has CSPAN ever drawn record numbers before, or been joined by networks spontaneously...

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