A reality show contestant tries to game the system. (20 minutes)
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Zack McDermott was a lawyer who moonlighted as a comedian.
Dan Taberski takes us into the world of the TV shows Cops and Live PD. And talks to people about what it’s like to be caught by the police and caught on camera at the same time.
One of our producers Bim Adewunmi explains her obsession with a certain baby on television.
Producer Lina Misitzis revisits a moment in a TV special that’s stuck with her for over twenty years.
Reporter Jasmine Garsd grew up in Argentina watching talk shows, which were kind of extreme even for Latin American television. The women on screen were pumped with silicone and Botox, and sometimes showed up wearing almost nothing.
Ira talks to Luke Huisenga, a Marine sniper who became a fan of Gilmore Girls while on deployment in Iraq.
Producer Stephanie Foo speaks to Nasubi, a Japanese comedian who, in the 90s, just wanted a little bit of fame. So he was thrilled when he won an opportunity to have his own segment on a Japanese reality TV show.
In preparing for this show, we started reaching out to Americans living in China and asking for their stories. A shocking amount of the expats came back with stories about different times they were on Chinese television.
Ira speaks with a reality TV producer named Bill Langworthy, who has noticed that people do things in front of the camera that they would never, ever do in their actual lives.
Joshuah Bearman's story continues. Chris Butler makes a transition into true criminal behavior.
Chicago writer Rebecca Makkai bring us the story of a reality television producer attempting to gossip love into existence—and just how complicated that gets. This fiction story originally appeared in the journal Crazyhorse.
Allison Silverman reports on This Is Your Life, a show from the 1950s where unsuspecting—and often famous—audience members would have their biographies created on the spot for 40 million viewers. But is that really a present you'd want to receive? Allison is an Emmy Award-winning writer who has worked on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Producer Sarah Koenig tells the story of Duke Fightmaster, who refused to give up his simple dream: to replace Conan O'Brien.
Shawn Allee tells a story of the oldest kind of million dollar idea, the scam. Or was it an honest venture? Back in the 1980s Michael Larson made the most money ever on the game show Press Your Luck.
Michael May tells the story of Barry Cooper, a former crooked narcotics cop who has turned his interest elsewhere...to busting crooked narcotics cops. But after Cooper and a rich benefactor team up to set a trap for the police, Barry's plans are put in jeopardy—including his dream of creating a reality show called "Kop Busters." Michael May is the Culture editor at the Texas Observer.
We head to deep inside the natural habitat of frenemies: Reality TV. Rich Juzwiak is a full-time blogger for VH1 and his own pop-culture blog which means he's spent a lot of time watching and dissecting reality TV shows.
Stef Willen tells Ira about a time that she took matters into her own hands, even though she was only a lowly production assistant on a reality show.
Thanh Tan was a TV reporter in Boise, Idaho, when her boss passed along what seemed like a hot news tip: A sex offender was working with kids at a local ice rink, as a hockey referee. But when she looked into it, she found out the crime was more than a decade old.
David Iserson tried to lay low in junior high, staying out of sight to keep from getting teased and bullied. But then he starred in a local TV commercial for his father's furniture store, and all of a sudden everyone knew about him...in a bad way.
This American Life contributor John Hodgman was unexpectedly chosen to be in a series of high-profile Apple Computer commercials (he plays a PC). He tells the story of what happens when celebrity hunts you down and finds you...on your living room couch, pushing 40, and a couple sizes larger than you want to be.
Host Ira Glass talks with Jane Espenson—who's written for the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Gilmore Girls—and with J.J. Abrams—one of the creators of the hit shows Lost, Alias, and Felicity—about how we might be in the midst of another Golden Age of television.
This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.
Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.