CfP: Special Issue of The Journal of Popular Television on Ted Lasso (2020-)

deadline for submissions: 
July 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Sabrina Mittermeier

Ted Lasso (2020-) is (ostensibly) a half-hour comedy that follows a basic fish-out-of-water plot: its titular American football coach coming to manage fictional English Premier League team A.F.C. Richmond – despite knowing nothing of the sport. But over its (so far) three-season run, the show morphed into a dramedy and eventually, an hour-long ensemble piece rivalling many other “prestige TV” productions. A pandemic sleeper hit, it put streaming service Apple TV+ on the map, winning it many loyal subscribers and countless awards; a curious feat for a show based on a series of humorous ads to promote football (soccer) on NBC Sports. Created by Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly, it took the trio years to sell the concept as a pilot, which finally succeeded with the help of veteran showrunner Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town) and his production company Doozer (contracted with Warner Bros. Television).


The series became best known for its message of kindness, its advocacy for mental health/illness, and interrogation of masculinity, but it ultimately provides fertile ground for academic exploration far beyond these central issues. As literature at this point is scarce – perhaps unsurprisingly so, given the show’s third season may or may not be its last and only just concluded in May 2023 – I am inviting contributions to a special issue of The Journal of Popular Television that potentially deal with one or more of the following aspects:


-        the show’s shifting genre(s) and what they mean for televisual production

-        use of different types of comedy and comedic play 

-        its context within the “streaming wars” and “prestige/peak TV”

-        its relationship to real-life football 

-   issues of representation (such as dealing with race, queerness, class)

-        interrogations of masculinity 

-     discussions of mental health/illness and (psycho)therapy both on the show and beyond (such as the cast’s visit to the White House)

-        its portrayal of British and American culture(s) 

-        the show’s fandom and fan work

-        overall audience & critical/media reception

-        core messages/symbolism and their resonance

-        allusions to other works of popular culture, including as narrative framework and overarching homage (particularly romantic comedies, musical film/theatre, sports film) 

-    paratexts and transmediality (merchandise, filming locations, Premier League tie-ins/sponsorship etc.) 


Abstracts of up to 500 words and a 250-word bio should be sent to by July 31, 2023. First full drafts of 6000-8000 words are expected by January 12, 2024, after which they will undergo a peer review process by the editor and a blind reviewer, with second drafts to be completed in early summer 2024. The issue is expected to be published in 2025.