This American Life (TV series)

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This American Life
This american life.jpg
Host Ira Glass sitting at his desk in a promotional card for This American Life
Directed by Christopher Wilcha
Starring Ira Glass
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ira Glass
Banks Tarver
Ken Druckerman
Christine Vachon
Jocelyn Hayes
Christopher Wilcha
Running time 26 minutes
Original network Showtime
Original release March 22, 2007 (2007-03-22) – May 28, 2009 (2009-05-28)

This American Life is an American television series based on the radio program of the same name. Like the radio program, the series is hosted by Ira Glass. The series premiered on March 22, 2007. Two seasons of the show have aired on Showtime. The second season finale aired on June 8, 2008,[1] and Showtime aired one final episode in May 2009.[2]

In September 2009, Glass announced that he and the other creators of the show had "asked to be taken off TV", largely in part to the difficult schedule required to produce a television program.[3] He went on to state that the show is officially "on hiatus", but would like to do a television special at some point in the future.[3] From January 10 to April 4, 2011, Current TV re-aired the series in its entirety.[4]

Medium shift[edit]

The television version of This American Life is a twofold shift in media from public radio to commercial television. The TAL staff had already attempted to move their program to television once before in 1999. Even though two different networks offered to screen a pilot, the TAL staff ultimately decided that it would be too difficult to make a television show that reflected its already successful weekly radio show. In 2002 Showtime offered to shoot a pilot, to which the TAL staff eventually agreed. In 2007 the first episode, "Reality Check", aired on television. When the staff was asked why the show moved to a commercial television station, Showtime, instead of public television (i.e. PBS), it responded that Showtime invited them to do a television show while PBS did not.[5] This American Life still runs weekly on public radio distributed by the Public Radio Exchange (formerly distributed by Public Radio International)


Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2007, the series won two Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming. It was also nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Editing for Nonfiction Programming.

In 2008, the series was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming, and Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming.

DVD releases[edit]

Season one of the series was released on DVD exclusively to Borders bookstores in April 2008. On May 19, 2008, Showtime announced the release would "go wide" to other retailers on September 23, 2008.[6]

Season two was released on DVD to Borders on January 20, 2009. The set was given a wide release on July 17, 2009.[7]


External links[edit]