After the 8pm performance of Radiance on Tuesday, November 27th, we will be hosting a talkback with Ron Simon, a curator at The Paley Center for Media, and Cusi Cram, the writer of Radiance.  The talk will focus on the evolution of ‘Reality Television’ in theatrical, commercial, and cultural contexts.  We invite anyone interested to come see the show that night and stick around for what promises to be an enlightening conversation.

Here’s a little bit of what to expect:

From the days of Pulitzer and Hearst, to the advent of television, and now to the internet and beyond, there is an insidious commercialism that colors our media.  We see ‘human-interest stories,’ ranging from inspiring acts of heroism to callous studies of the most depraved elements of society, continuing to be the most effective means of attracting would-be readers or viewers – buyers, in the executive’s eye – and we can’t escape them.  The TV show around which Radiance revolves is one such story.  In order to sell lipstick and makeup, the producers of “This Is Your Life” were charged with creating engaging television, and a public reconciliation between two very different men, two former enemies, would certainly fit that bill.  However, as we too often see in cases like these, when the private emotions of an individual are made public for the sake of entertainment, the interests at play are not so much in the ‘human’ as in the dollar, and things can go terribly wrong.

Tickets are available to the Tuesday, November 27th performance by clicking here.


Ron Simon has been a curator at The Paley Center for Media since the early 1980s. He is also an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University, New York University, and Hunter College, where he teaches courses on the history of media. Simon has written for many publications, including The Encyclopedia of Television and Thinking Outside of the Box, as well as serving as host and creative consultant of the CD-ROM Total Television. A member of the editorial board of Television Quarterly, and a judge on the George Foster Peabody committee, Simon has lectured at museums and educational institutions throughout the world. Among the numerous exhibitions he has curated are The Television of Dennis Potter; Witness to History; Jack Benny: The Television and Radio Work; and Worlds Without End: The Art and History of the Soap Opera. He also discovered such lost programs as the live Honeymooners and the only video performance of the Rat Pack.