James Lipton

The host of Inside gives his insight on the show's 15th season.

on Sep 23, 2008

Here comes autumn, with all that implies: renewal, a quickening of the individual and collective pulse, new sights, new sounds, new sensations.

As hard as it is to see summer slip away with its languid joys, the sharp, bright excitements of September compensate for it.

For Inside the Actors Studio the summer was a time of catching up on episodes lost during last winter's strike. Now we're up to speed again, with a parade of guests heading your way: Brooke Shields, Goldie Hawn, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Lapaglia, Laura Linney, Ricky Gervais, Christian Slater...for starters.

As we enter our fifteenth season, two startling and, for us, deeply satisfying statistics have emerged: First, the Television Academy informed us as we received our fourteenth Emmy nomination that Inside the Actors Studio has the longest Emmy-Award Nomination streak in television history.

Second, at some point in the coming season, Inside the Actors Studio will become the longest running series in the history of cable television.

Come and celebrate with us, starting with Christian Slater's episode, airing October 13.

Christian's episode marks one of those rare occasions when we taped at another location than our customary one at Pace University in Manhattan. This episode found us nearly 3,000 miles away in the Redcat Theater in Los Angeles's historic Disney Concert Center, with an audience of CalArts students.

This is the third time we've enjoyed CalArts' hospitality, in a valuable and growing relationship between our school and theirs - a collaboration that brings Inside the Actors Studio to their students and enables some of our guests, like Christian, whose schedules preclude a trip to New York, to add their unique presences to our historic series.

As you'll see on October 13, Christian is a remarkably knowledgeable, open and often amusing guest. Did you know he's a Frank Sinatra fan? You will when you watch the show, as he gives us very creditable renditions of two Frank Sinatra standards.

And listen to his account of a turning point in his acting training:

"I did this scene from "Orphans" where I was playing the older brother and I'll tell you, I I got into it. I slept in the park, I chose the character's underwear, I went to the thrift store and bought the guy's clothes and I'm telling you, the amount that that enriched me and filled my soul reawakened and reignited the true beauty and gift of what it is that we get to do, as actors. To get to be able to put somebody else's shoes on, to escape from yourself is the greatest gift you could possibly give yourself as an actor." He speaks movingly of the difficult transition between the innocent child actor and the fully responsible adult, when it happens under the scrutiny of the public magnifying glass: "It was tumultuous but, quite honestly, I had gotten addicted to the drama of it. Drama is something that is just as addictive as drugs or alcohol."

There's more drama - a lot more. Tune in on October 13 and enjoy all of it. Another heads up: Many of you have been kind enough to write and e-mail me about my book "Inside Inside," which came out a year ago. Now it's time for the paperback, which will be launched in November - and since it's become a tradition in these blogs to include a peek at the book, here's this blog's sample, which I chose because this is the time of year when our students at the Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University return to school, and so do many of the viewers of Inside the Actors Studio and the readers of "Inside Inside," This excerpt describes my first school day: