Newcomb is the author of television: The Most Popular Art (Doubleday/Anchor, 1974), co-author of The Producer"s Medium (Oxford University Press, 1983), and editor of seven editions of Television: The Critical View (Oxford University Press, 1976–2006). In 1973-1974, while teaching full-time, he was also the daily television columnist for the Baltimore Morning Sun. From 1994-1996 he served as Curator for the Museum of Broadcast Communications (Chicago) with primary duties as editor of The Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television (Taylor & Francis, 2nd edition, 2004), a fourvolume, 2,600 page reference work containing more than 1,200 entries on major people, programs, and topics related to television in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The MBC Encyclopedia of Television is the definitive library reference work of first record for the study of television
Newcomb is also author of numerous articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. His research and teaching interests are in media, society and culture and he has written widely in the fields of television criticism and history.
Recent lectures in Italy, Taiwan, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, of Korea, Switzerland and China have focused on cultural exchange and international media industries. Newcomb received the Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi in 1964.
He studied as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and University Fellow at the University of Chicago, receiving the Master of Arts in 1965 (General Studies in the Humanities) and the Doctor of Philosophy in English (American Literature), 1969.