Making History

James discusses the records 'IAS' is breaking and examines the amazing bond between Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

In my last blog I predicted that we were about to make history. Maybe not world-shaking history, but certainly history for Inside the Actors Studio, and perhaps for television.

And so it is coming to pass. . .

On January 9, on our Actors Studio Drama School stage at Pace University, we shot until 11 p.m. with George Clooney. Working at what was then record speed, we edited a two-hour episode and aired it January 31-- at precisely the moment when Brad Pitt was walking onto that same stage to shoot his episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Each of them sharing his life and life's work with our students for the first time, and each of them hitting the ball (to borrow a term from Brad's film Moneyball) out of the park. Ten days after Brad's live appearance, on February 10, shattering all our previous records, we will have edited his episode and he'll be on the air, matching George revelation for revelation, hilarity for hilarity, and perception for perception.

Each of the two evenings set several records -- for live audience, with lines snaking around the campus in the hope of gaining admission; for the guest's rapport with the students (each left at midnight when I finally had to tell them and the students, who would gladly have stayed with them all night, that early morning classes were looming); and for graciousness, charm, and warmth, in which they ended in a dead heat.

But the record that will be remembered longest by both our students and our viewers across America and around the world is the fact that within the span of ten days two of the most highly esteemed stars in the world can be seen on Bravo, virtually talking to each other as they approach the night when most observers believe one or the other of them will mount the stage to accept the Oscar as Best Actor.

The excitement and drama that will light up this year's Oscar night is there on our stage as they talk about their own work and the work of their friend, colleague, and competitor. When I finally asked Brad whether it was possible that each of them would end up voting for the other, he reflected for a moment, then observed calmly, "I would rather just recuse myself from voting altogether."

I suspect that George will do the same thing. This is a show of mutual respect that isn't normally associated with Hollywood. But it is par for the course with these two superstars and, in the view of our students, super human beings.

I won't reveal here the evening's most hilarious moments when I played a clip of George's claim that he was preparing a practical joke so diabolical that it could end Brad’s career, and Brad responded with the revelation that he had something in the works that would leave George' practical joke -- and George -- in the dust.

Tune in at 8 p.m. February 10 for all the revelations in this unique drama that is making TV history.

The Magical 250th Episode

James lets you know how you the viewer can shape the show's record-shattering episode.

The amazing journey of Inside the Actors Studio continues at an accelerating pace.


We are entering our Nineteenth Season, shattering our own record for cable TV longevity.

We have received out fifteenth Emmy nomination, another record.

We are celebrating these milestones with yet one more record: our 250th Episode.

And just to add another layer of icing to the cake, this will be an Inside the Actors Studio episode unlike any of the preceding 249.

Why? Because this time, you, our viewers in 94,000,000 homes across America on Bravo, and in 125 countries around the world, are going to cast it.

Over the years since 1994, we've had thousands of viewer responses to the show, on the internet, in the media and even -- and often -- on the street and in every conceivable public space, where I'm approached by kind strangers with, "My favorite show was. . ." "My favorite moment was. . ." "My favorite guest was. . ."

So, when my Bravo colleagues and I gathered around a table to ask ourselves, "How do we celebrate the 250th?" we realized the answer was staring us in the face: "Let's let those good people who have shared this amazing journey with us take over and pick the best moments, episodes, and guests of the past eighteen years, and we'll reprise them on the 250th, with full on-air credit to the viewer whose proposal we've selected."

Victor Hugo said, "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come" and clearly this is an idea whose time has come.

And the social networks of cyberspace, another idea whose time has come since we began the series, enable us to reach out to. . .you out there, wherever you are and whatever you think.

So we invite you to share your all-time favorite moment, guest or episode, and the reason for your choice, by commenting here at, on Bravo’s Facebook page, or on Twitter using the hashtag #IAS250. If we choose your response, it will be read on the show, as the introduction of the moment, guest or episode you’ve proposed, signed and certified by you.

It’s as simple as that: you, our viewers are the casting directors of this historic 250th episode -- and your wishes will be our commands.

We await your responses and decisions. Then you and your friends and family can gather before the electronic hearth later this fall to watch an unprecedented cavalcade of stars, chosen -- and presented -- by YOU and your fellow viewers.

In the meantime, happy reminiscing. We’re sure this will be our best show ever because it’s now in your capable hands.