The Interviews: An Oral History of Television from the Television Academy Foundation
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, they'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.