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Biography
Roy Rogers Biography.jpg
Format Documentary
Created by CBS News
Country of origin  United States
Production
Running time 60–120 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
A&E
The Biography Channel
Original run 1962 – present

Biography is a documentary television series. Originally a half-hour filmed series produced for syndication by David Wolper in 1962-63 and hosted by Mike Wallace, the A&E Network later re-ran it and has produced new episodes since 1987. The series has featured biographies on such people as Elvis Presley, Plácido Domingo, Freddie Mercury, Pope John Paul II, Gene Tierney, Selena,Enrico Caruso, Diego Rivera, , 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 1999, A&E spun it 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.[1] 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 Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google.

At one point, the show aired up to six times weekly in prime time, but 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.[2] However, A&E currently continues airing the series Saturday and Sunday mornings.[3] Usually, the network has focused on people within the popular culture field for its weekend morning broadcasts, but it continues to show Biography episodes covering figures outside of the popular culture field, such as business figures J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, KFC founder Colonel Sanders, and Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and 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-over by 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 property infringement 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.

See also

References

External links

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