For nearly 25 years, Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio has been an opportunity for celebrities to become much more than that while engaging in long, in-depth conversations with host James Lipton. As The New York Times once commented, “In Mr. Lipton’s guest chair, actors cease being stars for a while and become artists and teachers.” That has been the particular skill set of James, who, at the age of 92, has announced that he will be stepping down as host of the show.
When the series returns for its next season in fall 2019, it will be shifting over from Bravo to Ovation TV and will feature a rotating series of guest hosts, while promising to remain true to the show’s original intent. As James noted in an official statement, “It’s very gratifying to see the legacy of Inside the Actors Studio being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy. I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft, and Ovation, as a network to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series. I’m excited to see the new hosts engage with the guests and students and continue to entertain viewers in the US and around the world.”
Inside the Actors Studio had its start as a televised craft seminar for, as described by Wikipedia, “students of the Actors Studio Drama School, originally a joint venture of the Actors Studio and New School University in 1994, with Paul Newman, a former Actors Studios president, as its first guest.” It soon became an important series for Bravo. Initially, episodes were taped in New York’s Greenwich Village’s New School’s Tishman Auditorium, but moved to the Michael Schimel Center for the Arts at Pace University’s New York City campus. It is currently presented as a seminar to students of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University.
Over the years, James has interviewed over 200 people, the roster ranging from directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, to such actors as Bradley Cooper, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney, Sally Field, Al Pacino, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, and Julia Roberts. And every sit-down has been unlike any other conversation you’ve seen them engaged in before.
Well done, Mr. Lipton. It’s an amazing legacy.