The Interviews: An Oral History of Television (formerly the Archive of American Television) is a project of the nonprofit Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation in North Hollywood, Los Angeles that records interviews with notable people from all aspects of the television industry.
The project has interviewed over 850 television pioneers and has posted over 500 videotaped interviews online. It is their ultimate goal to be the world’s largest and most advanced oral history collection on the history of television. The archive's subjects include all professions within the television industry. Examples include: actors Alan Alda, Ossie Davis, Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Mary Tyler Moore,William Shatner, and Dick Van Dyke; producers Norman Lear, Carl Reiner, Chris Carter, Steven Bochco, Phil Rosenthal, Sherwood Schwartz, Fred Rogers and Dick Wolf; newscasters Walter Cronkite, Ed Bradley, Bob Schieffer and David Brinkley; executives Fred Silverman, Sumner Redstone, Leslie Moonves, Robert Johnson, Kay Koplovitz, Frank Stanton and Ted Turner; costume designers Bob Mackie and Nolan Miller; choreographers Tony Charmoli and Cyd Charisse; writers Roy Huggins, Tad Mosel, Sidney Sheldon, Abby Mann and Ann Marcus, among numerous others.
Motivated by Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has videotaped testimonies of Holocaust survivors, Dean Valentine (former Disney Television and UPN president) was inspired to create a similar project for television. Valentine developed and presented a proposal to the TV Academy, under then-president Richard H. Frank and Academy Foundation Chairman Thomas W. Sarnoff. NBC executive Grant Tinker, Award-winning producer David L. Wolper are the Archive's founding co-chairs. The creation of the Archive of American Television was co-founded and executive produced by Michael Rosenand overseen by James Loper, the Executive Director of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from 1984 until 1999.
Beginning in early 1996, the Archive of American Television completed its first six interviews as part of its pilot stage. The initial six interviews were with Elma Farnsworth, widow and lab assistant to the inventor of electronic television Philo Farnsworth; Leonard Goldenson, founder of ABC, Dick Smith, television’s first make-up artist; Ethel Winant, casting executive; Sheldon Leonard, show creator, actor, and director; and comedian Milton Berle. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation officially launched the Archive of American Television in 1997 under the day-to-day leadership of Rosen and Sarnoff.
Thousands of hours of historic interviews have been completed with over 850 TV legends. Full-length video interviews currently online include actors Alan Alda, Richard Crenna, Barbara Eden, Jonathan Winters, Ossie Davis, Michael J. Fox, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Clark,Florence Henderson, Andy Griffith, Bob Newhart, William Shatner, Carl Reiner, and Mickey Rooney, writer and producers Norman Lear, Sherwood Schwartz, Steven Bochco, and Dick Wolf, writer Harlan Ellison, news legends Walter Cronkite, Ed Bradley, Robert MacNeil, Jim McKay, Mike Wallace and David Brinkley, and executives Fred Silverman, Leonard Goldenson and Ted Turner.
TV Foundation Chairs Jerry Petry and Emeritus Thomas W. Sarnoff guide the day-to-day operations of the Archive. Archive staff, professors, scholars and journalists from around the country volunteer their time to conduct these interviews. The Foundation employs a small staff who prepare all of the research and questions in advance. Local video crews photograph each interview.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth was an American inventor and television pioneer. He made many crucial contributions to the early development of all-electronic television. He is best known for his 1927 invention of the first fully functional all-electronic image pickup device, the image dissector, as well as the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. Farnsworth developed a television system complete with receiver and camera—which he produced commercially through the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation from 1938 to 1951, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was an American broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–1981). During the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll.
Norman Milton Lear is an American television writer and producer who produced many 1970s sitcoms such as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude.
Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley was an American television newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, for 14 years beginning in 1956.
Richard Anthony Wolf is an American television producer, best known as the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise. Since 1990, the franchise has included six police/courtroom dramas and four international spinoffs. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Chicago franchise, which, since 2012, has included four Chicago-based dramas: police, courtroom, fire, and medical. Wolf has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Robert Alda was an American theatrical and film actor, a singer, and a dancer. He was the father of actors Alan and Antony Alda. Alda was featured in a number of Broadway productions, then moved to Italy during the early 1960s. He appeared in many European films over the next two decades, occasionally returning to the U.S. for film appearances such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969).
Masterclass is an American documentary television series airing on HBO. Each half-hour episode documents the experience of a small group of young artists working with a famous mentor. The series premiered on HBO on April 18, 2010 with opera star Plácido Domingo working with three aspiring young singers.
Alan David "Bud" Yorkin was an American film and television producer, director, screenwriter, and actor.
Jake and the Fatman is an American crime drama television series starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. "Fatman" McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The series ran on CBS for five seasons from September 26, 1987, to May 6, 1992. Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this series.
Leonard H. Goldenson was the second president of the United States-based television network American Broadcasting Company (ABC), from 1953 to 1986. Goldenson, as CEO of United Paramount Theatres, acquired a then-struggling ABC from candy industrialist Edward J. Noble. Goldenson focused on investing heavily on sports and news coverage along with creating synergy between Hollywood studios and television networks. Goldenson turned ABC into a media conglomerate, owning television and radio stations along with newspapers and book publishers. His innovations with ABC in terms of programming and media synergy would have lasting implications on the American television industry, and be emulated by leadership of other networks. He was portrayed in the 2002 TNT movie Monday Night Mayhem by Eli Wallach.
The Television Academy Hall of Fame was founded by a former president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), John H. Mitchell (1921–1988), to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to U.S. television.
The Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television & Radio (MT&R) and the Museum of Broadcasting, founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, is an American cultural institution in New York and Los Angeles dedicated to the discussion of the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public.
The Radio Television Digital News Association, formerly the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), is a United States-based membership organization of radio, television, and online news directors, producers, executives, reporters, students and educators. Among its functions are the maintenance of journalistic ethics and the preservation of the free speech rights of broadcast journalists.
Heartsounds is an autobiographical book written by Martha Weinman Lear, former staff writer and editor for The New York Times Magazine. The book was first published in 1980 by Simon & Schuster. A 1984 made-for-television movie starring James Garner and Mary Tyler Moore was based on the book.
Alan Alda is an American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he played Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series M*A*S*H (1972–1983). He has had recurring roles on television programs such as The West Wing, and 30 Rock, and has appeared in films such as Same Time, Next Year (1978), The Four Seasons (1981), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Bridge of Spies (2015), and Marriage Story (2019). In 2004, Alda was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Aviator. He is also known as Uncle Pete in Louis C.K.'s Peabody Award–winning tragicomedy web series Horace and Pete. Alda has also received three Tony Award nominations for his performances in The Apple Tree (1967), Jake's Women (1992), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). In 2019, Alda received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, author, producer, director, screenwriter, and singer. In his seven decades of acting, Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk, being a part of Star Trek, and life after Star Trek. He has also co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe, and a series of science fiction novels called TekWar, that were adapted for television.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation is the charitable arm of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The Foundation’s educational and preservation programs include the Summer Internship program, the College Television Awards, the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship and The Interviews: An Oral History of Television which chronicles the stories of TV's pioneers, innovators, artists and legends.
The 40th International Emmy Awards took place on November 19, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, United States. The ceremony, hosted by Regis Philbin, also presented a special Founders Award to Ryan Murphy, Alan Alda and Norman Lear. The Directorate Award was presented to Kim In-Kyu, president and CEO of Korean Broadcasting System.
The 11th International Emmy Awards took place on November 22, 1983 in New York City, United States, and hosted by American actress Mary Tyler Moore.
The Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television is awarded annually by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) at the Producers Guild Awards ceremonies recognizing the individual's outstanding body of work in television. The award category was instituted in 1989 and first awarded at the 1st Producers Guild Awards.