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October 4, 2015

This American Life: Act 1 -- TV show imminent

by Kevin Kelly, posted Dec 8th 2006 4:45PM
This American Life host Ira GlassWhen I was a kid growing up, public radio meant two things: boring, and more boring. I'm not sure when the exact moment was where I did a complete turnaround and started liking it, but I know it was at some point college. I stumbled across ambient music on Musical Starstreams, reveled in the extreme beauty and weirdness of Joe Frank's various shows, waxed nostalgic for an age I wasn't even alive in during A Prairie Home Companion, and learned about the world from the synonymous-with-coffee voice of Bob Edwards on Morning Edition (after 30 years on NPR, he was shitcanned and sent packing. He now has his own show on XM Radio, take that NPR!).

Then I arrived at This American Life. The first time I ever heard this show I was driving somewhere at night, and I found myself circling my destination just so I could finish hearing the story they had on. It'll suck you in quicker than a subplot involving AJ on The Sopranos, and is far more diverse. In a way, it's like a combination of all of the above-mentioned shows; they mash-up music, news, esoterica, slices of Americana and more into a retro-radio format. And it's all (finally) coming to a TV set near you.

We reported that TAL would be coming to Showtime well over a year ago, and it looks like they've cracked the nut and figured out how to bring the show from the radio to television. All Things Considered talked to Ira Glass and members of the production staff earlier this week, and he discussed the difficulties in translating the show. A particularly amusing note from the story is that Glass will host things from his desk -- which will appear at various locations across America, like on Utah's Salt Flats. It'll be the "And now for something completely different" announcer from Monty Python's Flying Circus for a new generation.

Also, Glass lost 30 pounds to appear on TV (which translates to 20, since the camera adds ten), so he's really taking this seriously. He's America's über-radio nerd, and soon you can put a face to that voice in your head. We'll be watching it on Showtime and our iPods. In fact, with podcasting being so prevalent now, does anyone take the time to listen to the radio anymore?

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On Bob Edwards -- He wasn't fired, he was reassigned from host to, IIRC, senior correspondent. He then chose to move on. For all intents and purposes, it's basically the same especially the way it seemed like NPR treated him.

December 09 2006 at 5:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"This American Life" itself just launched a podcast edition a few weeks ago, which thrills me because I could never remember when it came on the radio and I didn't want to pay for a subscription through Audible.

December 08 2006 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

About half of the podcasts I listen to are from NPR, does that count? :)

December 08 2006 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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