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For the HBO series, see Lifestories: Families in Crisis.
Genre Medical drama
Created by Jeffrey Lewis
Narrated by Robert Prosky
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
Executive producer(s) Jeffrey Lewis
Running time 45 minutes
Original network NBC
Original release August 20, 1990 (1990-08-20) – July 14, 1991 (1991-07-14)

Lifestories is an American medical drama television series that premiered August 20, 1990, on NBC.[1] Done in a documentary style with off-screen narration by Robert Prosky, Lifestories was an attempt to make an extremely realistic medical drama answering questions like, "Exactly what goes on during the first 45 minutes of a heart attack?" "What is it like to be told that you have advanced colon cancer?"


# Title Original airdate
1 "Don Chapin" August 20, 1990 (1990-08-20)
Don Chapin (Richard Masur), an executive in the construction industry, is diagnosed with colon cancer.
2 "Rebecca McManus and Steve Arnold" September 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
A childless couple in their 40s pursue a variety of fertility options.
3 "Frank Brody" October 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)
Following a heart attack, efforts to save a retired Navy man's life are counted in real time on-screen.
4 "Beverly Whitestone, Dan Drabowski, Sadie Maxwell, Lois Barnes" October 14, 1990 (1990-10-14)
Following four patients in a day at a plastic surgery clinic on the same day.
5 "Wes, Laurie, Georgia" October 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)
6 "Jerry Forchette" November 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)
An exterminator has an inoperable brain tumor.
7 "Art Conforti" November 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)
A husband stages an intervention to save his wife from alcoholism.
8 "The Hawkins Family" December 2, 1990 (1990-12-02)
Parents search for a child they gave up for adoption 15 years earlier in hopes of obtaining bone marrow for their son.
9 "Steve Burdick" December 18, 1990 (1990-12-18)
A gay TV anchorman loses his lover to AIDS and is HIV-positive himself. He tells their story on the air.
10 "Darryl Tevis" July 14, 1991 (1991-07-14)
A high school basketball player suffers a stroke.

"Steve Burdick" controversy[edit]

"Steve Burdick" was originally scheduled to air on December 2, 1990.[2] Had it aired on that date it would have been one of several programs relating to AIDS airing in early December, which has been designated as World AIDS Month (December 1 being World AIDS Day).[3] Gay and AIDS activists accused NBC of pulling the episode out of fear of advertiser backlash, a charge that NBC denied.[4] A network spokesperson also denied that network schedulers were aware of World AIDS Month and, in a perhaps unfortunate choice of phrase, characterized the decision to pull the episode as a "straight programming decision".[5] Series producer Jeffrey Lewis also believed there was an economic motive, saying "I suspect a show about AIDS would not be popular with advertisers — particularly (when it focused on) a gay person with AIDS."[5] NBC changed Lifestories from a weekly series to a monthly one in December and on December 5 confirmed that "Steve Burdick" would be the first of the monthly episodes aired.[4]


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (August 20, 1990). "An Early Fall - Television: NBC will introduce five new series this week. 'Hull High' and 'Lifestories' offer a bizarre pairing tonight.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  2. ^ Weinstein, Steve (November 20, 1990). "NBC Pulls AIDS-Themed 'Lifestories'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  3. ^ Brenner, Elisa (1992-12-06). "Changing Face of AIDS in the County". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  4. ^ a b Knight-Ridder Service (1990-12-10). "Hunter's Partner Killed". Aiken (SC) Standard. p. 4A. 
  5. ^ a b The Hartford Courant (1990-12-18). "NBC series takes close look at AIDS case". The Santa Fe New Mexican. p. B-8. 


Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows

External links[edit]