Online Archive Celebrates 25th Anniversary With $350,000 Grant Funded by NEH’s Special ‘A More Perfect Union’ Initiative

The Television Academy Foundation today announced it has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the preservation of its online archive The Interviews: An Oral History of Television.

Celebrating its 25 th anniversary this year, The Interviews was selected for NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program and will be funded in part by its special initiative “A More Perfect Union,” which commemorates the 250 th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. The initiative is designed to enhance the critical role the humanities play in the U.S. and builds on NEH’s investments in projects that catalog, preserve, explain and promote American history. The Foundation is one of 36 award recipients selected from 205 eligible applicants.

The Foundation has been producing, preserving and curating the oral history of television since 1997, amassing the world’s largest online archive devoted to the medium, making the fully searchable and free-to-screen collection available as a resource at TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews. It contains over 3,000 hours of uncensored interviews with icons and inventors from television’s earliest days to current stars and visionaries, all of whom chronicle the birth, growth and ongoing evolution of American television.

These inspiring, funny and fascinating stories, from such luminaries as Carol Burnett, George Carlin, Diahann Carroll, Margaret Cho, Walter Cronkite, Ann Curry, Whoopi Goldberg, Ron Howard, Norman Lear, Ricardo Montalban, Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, RuPaul, Ted Sarandos, John Singleton, Barbara Walters and Betty White, are what make  The Interviews truly unique and irreplaceable.

By 2019 the formats used in the original video productions for The Interviews were in a crisis of obsolescence. With initial underwriting from the Television Academy and additional private donors, The Interviews Preservation was established; and the first long-term, state-of-the-art preservation plan for the archive was initiated with the USC Digital Repository to preserve its 930+ interviews in perpetuity.

Members of the Television Academy foundation visit the USC Digital Repository at USC on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for Television Academy/AP Images)

Under the direction of Television Academy Foundation Chair Cris Abrego and Vice Chair of the Foundation and Chair of The Interviews committee Jonathan Murray, the Foundation is focused on additional fundraising to secure the core collection for the next 100 years, prioritizing inclusive representation for future interviews, and making The Interviewsmore accessible with captioning and language translation.

“We are deeply honored by this NEH recognition and grateful for this very special grant,” said Abrego. “As we celebrate the 25 th anniversary of this unique collection, we are committed to further represent all of the diverse talent that’s influencing the course of America’s favorite pastime.”

This NEH grant is vital to helping us meet our goal of financing the first three years of digitization and preservation,” said Murray. “It sets the stage for our next wave of fundraising as we continue to enthusiastically share this incredible collection about the art of American television with the world, free of charge!”

For more information, visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews.

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 and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards and SummitStudent Internship and Fellowship Programs and the Faculty Conference, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. For more information on the Foundation, please visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Foundation.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.