Press Releases

Emerson College and the Television Academy Foundation Partner to Bring Emerson's American Comedy Archives Online with the Foundation's Comprehensive Interview Collection

Interviews with Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls) and Kevin Bright (Friends, In Living Color) help kick off this initiative to digitize interviews with comedy greats

BOSTON, MA (April 27, 2017) - Emerson College and the Television Academy Foundation today announced a partnership that will make Emerson's American Comedy Archives available to audiences worldwide through the Foundation's renowned online oral history archive, "The Interviews: An Oral History Project of the Television Academy Foundation," a collection of more than 850 comprehensive conversations with television innovators and legends. The Television Academy Foundation and Emerson's Center for Comedic Arts will also produce new interviews, which will provide unique content and enhance existing conversations.

Emerson's interviews with Emmy Award winner Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls), late actor Pat Harrington, Jr. (One Day at a Time, The Steve Allen Show), and programming executive and Emerson alumnus and Trustee Doug Herzog (MTV, Comedy Central, Viacom) have been digitized by the Foundation and are available now at emmytvlegends.org/AmericanComedyArchivesatEmersonCollege. Additionally, the first of the newly co-produced interview collection features Emmy Award-winning producer Kevin Bright (Friends, In Living Color), an Emerson alumnus, Trustee, and the founding director of Emerson's Los Angeles campus.

The American Comedy Archives was established at Emerson College in 2005, with support from the late Emerson Trustee Emeritus, alumnus, and arts philanthropist Ted Cutler. The project was spearheaded by Emerson alumnus and comedian Bill Dana, who conducted many of the interviews for the collection. According to Dana, head writer for The Steve Allen Show and several other comedy classics, the creation of the American Comedy Archives was a labor of love.

"When we sat down to conduct interviews for the archives, people were incredibly generous with their time. They weren't there to promote a particular project; they were there to share more about themselves, what drew them to comedy, and their path to working in the industry," said Dana. "We achieved what we had hoped for and more in creating the comedy archives at Emerson and that is providing rich, in-depth interviews with comedy legends from the stage and screen who all had something important to say about their craft."

"We are thrilled to partner with Emerson on expanding our world-renowned, award-winning collection of 'The Interviews' for students, researchers, journalists and television fans to enjoy and share," said Madeline Di Nonno, chair of the Television Academy Foundation. "The stories shared in these fascinating conversations add tremendous insights and candor, spotlighting our rich and vast television history."

"Emerson has a long and celebrated history in comedic arts, including many alumni who have contributed to all aspects of the genre. We are delighted to partner with the Television Academy Foundation to create an online platform that honors comedic arts and a multitude of talented comedy performers, writers, producers, and directors," said Emerson College President Lee Pelton. "Comedy holds up a mirror on society and in today's digital media landscape, it is more prevalent than ever in our daily lives. These newly digitized interviews will benefit our students, particularly those who are pursuing careers in comedy, and will serve as a vital resource beyond our campus community."

Other compelling interviews in the American Comedy Archives collection to be digitized as part of the new partnership between Emerson and the Television Academy Foundation include Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show); Dick Gregory (comedian), Emerson alumnus Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude); and Barbara Feldon (Get Smart). A complete list of interviewees and transcripts are online.

About Emerson College
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city's Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in the liberal arts, communication, and the arts. The College has approximately 3,500 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its beautifully restored 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, DC, London, China, the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa. The College has an active network of 37,000 alumni. For more information, visit emerson.edu.

About the Television Academy Foundation
Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational outreach programs such as the College Television Awards, Student Internship Program, and Faculty Seminar, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. Founded in 1997, the Foundation's Archive of American Television has grown into The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. Comprised of more than 850 oral history interviews (over 4000 hours) with the legends of television, the collection chronicles the birth and growth of American TV History as it evolves. New interviews are produced every year, covering a variety of professions, genres, and topics in electronic media history. For more information on the foundation, please visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Foundation.

Download the press release here.

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Media Contacts:
Carole McFall, carole_mcfall@emerson.edu, 617-824-8415
Michelle Gaseau, michelle_gaseau@emerson.edu, 617-824-3547
Stephanie Goodell (breakwhitelight for the Television Academy), stephanie@breakwhitelight.com, 818-462-1150