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This American Life

This American Life (TAL) is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by WBEZ in Chicago and distributed by Public Radio International. Ira Glass created the show, and has served as the producer and host since the first episode, "New Beginnings," debuted on November 17, 1995, and went national in June 1996.

TAL is primarily a journalistic non-fiction program. Each week's show centers around a particular theme. Examples include "The Cruelty of Children," "Hoaxing Yourself," "Accidental Documentaries," and "Fiasco!" Each show features several acts exploring that theme. A show usually consists of two to five acts, but some have consisted of just one act and one show ("20 Acts in 60 Minutes") fit 20 acts into the hour.

Each act is the work of a different contributor, and can take on a number of forms — an essay, an interview, field recordings, found footage or something else. Some acts are funny, some are sad, some are neither, and many are thought-provoking.

A 2-disc CD, Lies, Sissies, and Fiascoes, was released on May 4, 1999. It collects several of the producers' favorite acts.

A 32-page comic book, Radio: an Illustrated Guide, documents how an episode of TAL is put together. It was drawn by cartoonist Jessica Abel and written by Abel and Glass.

In 2002 the show signed a six-figure deal with Warner Brothers giving the studio two years of "first-look" rights to its hundreds of archived and future stories. In the first year of the deal, at least four scripts are being developed. The scripts are inspired by the following stories:

It is unknown whether any of these will actually make it to the silver screen.

Table of contents
1 Current contributing editors
2 Other contributors
3 External link

Current contributing editors

Other contributors

External link