- Biography (TV series)
show_name = Biography
TV-Gor TV-PG (depending on who/what is profiled)
runtime = 60–120 minutes
country = USA
The Biography Channel
last_aired = present
"Biography" is a
documentary television series. Originally produced by CBSin 1962 and hosted by Mike Wallace, the A&E Networklater re-ran it and has produced new episodes since 1987. The series has featured biographies on such people as Elvis Presley, Plácido Domingo, Pope John Paul II, Enrico Caruso, Diego Rivera, Mick Foley, Mao Zedong, and Queen Elizabeth II, and fictional characters like The Phantom, Superman, and Santa Claus. The program ended up profiling enough figures, that in 1999A&E spun the program off into an entire network, The Biography Channel.
Initially, most of the episodes featured the life stories of historical figures or present political or social leaders. After a few years, however, the show began producing episodes on figures from
pop culture. This move away from purely intellectual subject matter has been criticized by some. [cite web
last = Gildemeister
first = Christopher
title = What Your Kids are Discovering on Discovery Channel
Parents Television Council
date = 2006-10-16
url = http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/culturewatch/2006/1016.asp
accessdate = 2007-07-30 ] However, the original Wallace series also featured pop culture figures; in fact, the very first episode discussed the life of baseball icon
Babe Ruth. In addition, the series has recently covered figures in the business and technology world, such as Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, and Sergey Brinand Larry Page, founders of
At one point, the show aired up to six times weekly in prime time, but recently has been cut back to only once a week, usually on Friday nights. A&E canceled "Biography" after August 2006, making the show exclusively available on The Biography Channel. [Dempsey, John. [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117944601?categoryid=14&cs=1 "'Biography' rewrite"] - Variety - June 4 2006] However, A&E currently continues airing the series Saturday and Sunday mornings. [ [http://www.aetv.com/search/schedule.do?keywords=biography&Search.x=0&Search.y=0 Schedule search for "Biography" airings] -
A&E] Usually, the network has focused on people within the popular culturefield for its weekend morning broadcasts, but it continues to show "Biography" episodes covering figures outside of the popular culture field, such as businessfigures J.C. Penney, Wal-Martfounder Sam Walton, Wendy'sfounder Dave Thomas, KFCfounder Colonel Sanders, and Home Depotfounders Bernie Marcusand Arthur Blank, as well as journalist Meredith Vieira.
"Biography" has been hosted by Peter Graves,
Jack Perkins, Karen Hughes, and Harry Smith. Since Smith's departure in 2003, the show has been done in voice-overby Neil Ross.
The Canadian television comedy series "
Liocracy" was a parody of "Biography". That program, in fact, was originally titled "Liography" until the producers of "Biography" threatened an intellectual propertyinfringement lawsuit.
The basic format for "Biography" was copied by other networks for more focused genres, such as
VH1's " Behind The Music" and E!'s " True Hollywood Story".
The Biography Channel
* [http://www.aetv.com/biography/index.jsp Official site on A&E]
* [http://www.biography.com/ The Biography Channel]
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