About The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
Capturing television history, one voice at a time
Inspired by the Shoah Visual History Foundation's interviews, television executive Dean Valentine sought to adapt Shoah's model to create an oral history of television -- a video collection of first-person interviews with those involved in the birth and growth of the American television industry. In 1996 Valentine brought the idea to then-Television Academy president Richard Frank and Foundation chairman Thomas W. Sarnoff, who immediately saw the value of such a project. In 1997, the Television Academy Foundation officially launched the Archive of American Television to capture the stories behind the making of television and preserve them for future generations. In 2017, the Archive was renamed The Interviews: An Oral History of Television.
In that time, we've amassed nearly 900 oral history interviews (approximately 4,000 hours) with the legends of television. The Interviews continues to produce new interviews every year, and covers a variety of professions, genres, and topics in electronic media history and American culture.
These primary-source oral histories are conducted in a life-history format, starting with the subject's early years and influences. The conversation then moves into their major television work, and concludes with the subject's thoughts about his or her craft, as well as advice to aspiring professionals. The interviews are presented uncut and unscripted. They are never edited for content, but in rare cases an interviewee may request to amend their own words for the historical record. The Interviews collection is produced in the interest of preserving the history of television. It is intended as primary source material for future generations, to preserve the stories behind the making of television. To maintain the historical and educational integrity of the collection, the interviews are presented as they were recorded, captured at a particular moment in time.
The collection includes conversations with legends from television's earliest days in the Farnsworth Labs to current stars and visionaries. We cover all TV Professions: Actors, Directors, Writers, Producers, Art Directors, Stuntmen, Composers, Music Directors, Historians, News Anchors, Talk Show Hosts, Religious Broadcasters, Puppeteers, Animators, Lighting Designers, Editors, Production Designers, Announcers, Sportscasters, Audio Engineers, Cameramen, Publicists, Advertising Executives, Network Founders and more. Genres of TV shows covered include Animation, Children's Programming, Comedy, Detective shows, Daytime & Primetime serials, Dramas, Game Shows, Late Night, Talk Shows, Legal Dramas, Medical Dramas, Music & Variety, News & Documentary, Reality TV, Religious Programming, Sci-Fi, Sports, TV Movies, Mini-series, and Westerns. Topics covered include TV's Golden Age, Pop Culture, Television and the Presidency, the Television Industry, Standard & Practices, Censorship, The Creative Process, Network Creation, The Hollywood Blacklist, Media Consolidation, Studio Management, the Quiz Show Scandals, Technological Innovation, Historic Events and Social Change, and more.
Dean Valentine, Thomas W. Sarnoff, Grant A. Tinker, David L. Wolper, and founding Executive Producer Michael Rosen were the initial forces behind this historic collection. Television Academy Foundation Chairman Madeline Di Nonno, Chair Emeritus Thomas W. Sarnoff, and Interviewees Committee Chair Margaret Loesch continue to guide The Interviews' success.
We are working to continue to cross-reference and index these interviews, and improve our search functionality. If you would like to help sponsor our efforts, please contact us.
THE INTERVIEWS STAFF
- Jenni Matz, Director, matz [at] televisionacademy.com
- Adrienne Faillace, Producer, faillace [at] televisionacademy.com
- Jenna Hymes, Digital Projects Manager, hymes [at] televisionacademy.com
- Nora Bates, Production Coordinator, bates [at] televisionacademy.com
- John Dalton, Cataloger, dalton [at] televisionacademy.com
Television Academy Foundation
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For General Inquiries. Licensing information & Press Contact:
interviews [at] televisionacademy.com
Watch the full story behind the origins of The Interviews: