How to cite a TV show in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

To cite an episode of a TV show in APA Style, list the writer(s) and director(s) as authors, the date when the episode aired, the name of the episode, the season and episode number, “TV series episode” in square brackets, the executive producers of the whole series, the title of the series, and the production company or companies.

Format Writer last name, Initials. (Writer), & Director last name, Initials. (Director). (Year, Month Day). Episode name (Season Number, Episode Number) [TV series episode]. In Executive producer initialsLast name (Executive Producer), Series name. Production Company.
Reference entry Kogen, J. (Writer), Wolodarsky, W. (Writer), & Kirkland, M. (Director). (1993, March 11). Last exit to Springfield (Season 4, Episode 17) [TV series episode]. In J. L. Brooks, M. Groening, A. Jean, M. Reiss, S. Simon (Executive Producers), The Simpsons. Gracie Films; Twentieth Century Fox Film Productions.
In-text citation (Kogen et al., 1993)

Citing an entire TV series in APA Style

The format for citing an entire TV series is more straightforward. The executive producers are listed as authors, and the range of years given is for the series’ entire run.

Format Executive producer last name, Initials. (Executive Producer). (Year range). Series name [TV series]. Production Company.
Reference entry Chase, D., Grey, B., Green, R., Burgess, M., Landress, I. S., Winter, T., & Weiner, M. (Executive Producers). (1999–2007). The Sopranos [TV series]. Chase Films; Brad Grey Television; HBO Entertainment.
In-text citation (Chase et al., 1999–2007)

Authors and production companies for TV shows

When listing writers and directors for an episode, each person listed should be individually labeled as either “Writer” or “Director.” If one person combined both roles, write “Writer & Director” in the parentheses.

Don’t label them collectively, as it can cause confusion.

  • Kogen, J., Wolodarsky, W., & Kirkland, M. (Writers & Director).
  • Kogen, J., Wolodarsky, W. (Writers), & Kirkland, M. (Director).
  • Kogen, J. (Writer), Wolodarsky, W. (Writer), & Kirkland, M. (Director).

Executive producers are labeled collectively, since they all share the same role.

  • J. L. Brooks (Executive Producer), M. Groening (Executive Producer), A. Jean (Executive Producer) …
  • J. L. Brooks, M. Groening, A. Jean, M. Reiss, S. Simon (Executive Producers)

No role specifications are included in in-text citations, and “et al.” is used when more than three total contributors are listed.

In-text citations
  • (Kogen et al., 1993)
  • (Chase et al., 1999–2007)

Finally, note that when a series is produced by multiple production companies, you should list them all, separated by semicolons.

Listing multiple production companies
Chase Films; Brad Grey Television; HBO Entertainment.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

4 comments

Brandy
July 29, 2021 at 10:37 PM

Hi Mr. Caulfield,

Regarding in-text citations, I am citing multiple episodes of the same tv show which fall in the same year. The first writer is the same so it will be (Daniels et al., 2009). My question is how do I distinguish between the in-text citations so that my reader knows which episode on the reference list I am referring to?

I am able to add either a/b/c as I have done in the past with multiple citations with same author/year, but I am wondering if in my in-text I should instead be adding the air date- for instance, (Daniels et al., 2009 January 15)

Thank you

Reply

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
August 2, 2021 at 2:57 PM

Hi Brandy,

You should include the full air date for a TV episode in your reference list, yes, but APA still recommends using letters to distinguish between in-text citations, rather than adding extra detail to the date. So your in-text citations would be "2009a", etc., and the dates in your reference entries would be e.g. "2009a, January 15". The lettering should be in chronological order, but the full date isn't added to the in-text citation, just the letter.

Hope that helps!

Reply

Emily
February 11, 2021 at 12:32 AM

Hello,

What about APA 7th style for a year range within the same century included in the text?

1942-1943
or
1942-42

Reply

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 17, 2021 at 4:57 PM

Hi Emily,

Based on the examples in the APA 7th edition manual, they recommend just including the full years regardless of their being in the same century/decade or not. So your example would be 1942–1943. Note that an en dash (–) is recommended for numerical ranges, not a hyphen (-).

Reply

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