Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via emailShare via Facebook Messenger

How to Cite a TV Show in APA Format

If you’re using television as a reference source for your research paper, it’s important to know how to cite a TV show in APA format. The 7th edition of APA Style, its most recent, requires that the reference page list the episode’s writer and director as the authors, the air date, the episode’s name, the season and episode numbers, the executive producer(s), the series’s name, and the production company

Here’s a tip: Citations can be tricky, but they don’t have to trip you up. Grammarly’s Citation Generator ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism.

For any piece of academic writing, the rules for how to cite a TV episode in APA format require you to use this formula for the reference page: 

Last name of writer, First name initial. (Writer), & Last name of director, First

name initial. (Director). (Year, Month Day of original air date). Episode

name (Season # Episode #) [TV series episode]. In First name initial. Last

name of executive producers (Executive Producers), TV series title in italics.

Production company. 

Cite your sources with confidence
Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism

There are particular rules to follow for how to write the creators’ names, which we explain in the next section. In short, this is the general template for how to cite TV episodes in APA format, and it’s acceptable for both primary and secondary sources. In practice, your entry should look like this: 

Penhall, J. (Writer), & Fincher, D. (Director). (2017, October 13). Episode 2 (Season

1, Episode 2) [TV series episode]. In C. Chaffin, J. Donen, J. Erwin, D.

Fincher, B. Kono, J. Penhall, & C. Theron (Executive Producers), Mindhunter.

Denver and Delilah Productions.

When writing a research paper or report, you also need to include in-text citations. If only one writer and one director are given, use this formula: 

(Last name of writer & Last name of director, Year of original air date)

(Penhall & Fincher, 2017)

If, however, there are four or more names among the writers and directors, use only the first person’s last name followed by “et al.” and the year. 

(Penhall et al., 2017)

If you’re using a direct excerpt of dialogue or referencing a specific scene, it’s also good to include a time stamp of the relevant part. That’s why, when watching your source material, it’s a good idea to write down the time stamp in your essay outline so you don’t have to find it later. 

When needed, the time stamp goes at the end of the in-text citation, preceded by a comma. 

(Penhall & Fincher, 2017, 0:45:05)

If you are using a long passage of dialogue word for word, double-check the passage in a plagiarism checker. Be sure to include the in-text citation to avoid plagiarism. 

Rules for how to cite TV in APA format 

TV citations in APA format follow particular rules about how to list names, job titles, and other information. Here are some rules to keep in mind when you cite TV in APA format. 

  • Writers and directors are written individually, so you must include “(Writer)” and “(Director)” after each name. 
  • Executive producers are written collectively, so you have to write “(Executive Producers)” only once after all the names. 
  • When writing a series of names, use an ampersand (&) before the final one. 
  • If someone works as both a writer and director, you can write “(Writer & Director)” after their name. 
  • If the episode you’re referencing is unscripted, you can use the name of the host as the author. Just remember to format it as “Last name, First name initial.” And put the word “Host” in parentheses. 
  • If more than one production company was used, separate the company names using a semicolon, not a comma. 
  • In APA reference-page citations, titles use the sentence case, so capitalize only the first word of a title, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns. In text, however, use the standard title case. 

How to cite a TV episode on a streaming site in APA format

For TV shows watched on a streaming site, the citation for the reference page changes slightly. Instead of the production company, write the name of the streaming service, such as “Netflix” or “Hulu” (because it’s the distributor). Then, after a period, write the URL of the streaming site’s home page, not the URL of the specific episode. 

For quick reference, use this formula when citing a TV episode on a streaming site in APA format: 

Last name of writer, First name initial. (Writer), & Last name of director, First

name initial. (Director). (Year, Month Day of original air date). Episode

name (Season #, Episode #) [TV series episode]. In First name initial.

Last name of executive producers (Executive Producers), TV series title

in italics. Name of streaming site. URL of home page

In practice, your reference-page citation should look like this: 

Penhall, J. (Writer), & Fincher, D. (Director). (2017, October 13). Episode 2 (Season

1, Episode 2) [TV series episode]. In C. Chaffin, J. Donen, J. Erwin, D.

Fincher, B. Kono, J. Penhall, & C. Theron (Executive Producers),

Mindhunter. Netflix. http://www.netflix.com

In-text citations follow the same guidelines above. 

How to cite an entire TV series in APA format

If you want to cite an entire TV series instead of a single episode, there are different rules to follow. Cite the executive producers as the authors, and use the entire time span of the show as the date, among other minor changes. You can follow this formula: 

Last name of executive producer 1, First name initials., Last name of executive

producer 2, First name initials., etc. (Executive Producers). (Year–Year).

TV series title in italics [TV series]. Production Company.

In practice, it should look like this: 

Chaffin, C., Donen, J., Erwin, J., Fincher, D., Kono, B., Miles, C., Penhall, J., & Theron

C. (Executive Producers). (2017–2019). Mindhunter [TV series]. Denver and

Delilah Productions.

Note that if the show is still on the air, you can write “present” as the final year for the time range. 

In-text citations use the last names of up to three executive producers or the last name of the first producer and “et al.” In-text citations also include the complete time range. 

(Chaffin et al., 2017–2019)

Your writing, at its best.
Works on all your favorite websites
iPhone and iPad KeyboardAndroid KeyboardChrome BrowserSafari BrowserFirefox BrowserEdge BrowserWindows OSMicrosoft Office
Related Articles
Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox.
You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog.