This article uses a case study to contribute to the debate on media-political clientelism and its relation to the theory of media systems. It proposes a cross-disciplinary approach between the fields of communication and political sciences and thus analyzes four dimensions to observe the evolution of these practices in the area of television policies during Spanish democracy: license granting, television ownership regulation, politicization of the public service, and partisan news coverage. The period analyzed includes conservative and social democrat governments, trying to find differences in clientelistic practices among the different political parties. The analysis demonstrates how partisan relationships have evolved and what mechanisms have been put in place to maintain clientelistic ties. © 2013 Copyright Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.