A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.
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Adam Davidson reads from his high school diaries.
This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.
Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall were a comedy duo back in the mid-1960s, playing clubs around Los Angeles, when their agent called to tell them he'd landed them the gig of a lifetime: They were going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show. The only problem was that their performance was a total fiasco, for a bunch of reasons, including one they never saw coming.
Robin Epstein talks about her old job, as producer and chief question writer on a game show for teen-age girls called Plugged In. It was one of the first shows to air on the Oxygen network, the TV channel for women created by Oprah Winfrey. Robin had hoped that the show could serve as a role model for young women, showing smart teen girls answering tough questions.
David Iserson tried to lay low in junior high, staying out of sight to keep from getting teased and bullied. But then he starred in a local TV commercial for his father's furniture store, and all of a sudden everyone knew about him...in a bad way.
David Wilcox tells the story of how his mother, who was dying of lung cancer, made a short videotape for his sister, who is severely developmentally disabled. She hoped the tape would become a daily part of her daughter's life, like the other music and movies she liked to play, that she would watch it and remember her mother.
Host Ira Glass talks to Anthony Swofford, a former marine sniper and author of the Gulf War memoir Jarhead. He explains what he's seeing when he watches this new war with Iraq on television.
Dishwasher Pete on Letterman.
Host Ira Glass talks with Jane Espenson—who's written for the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Gilmore Girls—and with J.J. Abrams—one of the creators of the hit shows Lost, Alias, and Felicity—about how we might be in the midst of another Golden Age of television.
The story of two amateurs meeting the pros. One is a teenager in New Jersey; the other, our reporter.
Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.
We head to deep inside the natural habitat of frenemies: Reality TV. Rich Juzwiak is a full-time blogger for VH1 and his own pop-culture blog which means he's spent a lot of time watching and dissecting reality TV shows.
Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.
When Burt Covit was programming his VCR one day, he accidentally tuned in to a channel showing the lobby of a building. He started to watch, and couldn't stop.
In this special half-hour story produced by Jay Allison as part of his Life Stories series, Dan Gediman tracks down the original Zoom cast members to find out what his life would've been like if he had achieved his childhood dream of being on Zoom.
Producer Lina Misitzis revisits a moment in a TV special that’s stuck with her for over twenty years.
Allison Silverman reports on This Is Your Life, a show from the 1950s where unsuspecting—and often famous—audience members would have their biographies created on the spot for 40 million viewers. But is that really a present you'd want to receive? Allison is an Emmy Award-winning writer who has worked on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
When he was just a kid, Davy Rothbart and his family visited the most famous neighbor in America—Mr. Rogers—at his summer cottage on Nantucket.
For four hours in August 2001, KCAL-9, an all-news channel in Los Angeles, broadcast a very unusual police pursuit. The suspect drove under the speed limit, obeyed all traffic laws, signaled every time he wanted to turn.