James Lipton is putting his Inside the Actors Studio days behind him. The 92-year-old host of the longtime Bravo interview show will not move with the series to its new home at Ovation TV.
Lipton plans to retire from Bravo’s flagship show, and will be replaced by a rotating lineup of guest hosts, according to TV Line. The series will continue to be a craft seminar for the students of The Actors Studio MFA program at Pace University in New York City.
Lipton, who created the legendary Q&A program in 1994, issued a statement on his departure from Bravo’s longest-running show.
“It’s very gratifying to see the legacy of Inside The Actors Studio being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy. I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft, and Ovation, as a network dedicated to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series. I’m excited to see the new hosts engage with the guests and students and continue to entertain viewers in the U.S. and around the world.”
A rep for Bravo thanked Lipton for his “legendary run” and “impact on pop culture,” explaining that with the departure of the longtime host it was “time to close this chapter and pass the baton” to Ovation.
In an interview with Deadline, Lipton admitted that he was initially concerned that Inside the Actors Studio‘s non-gossip talk show format “would limit us, that we would be on the air for a few months and then vanish because people didn’t want to hear people talk about craft.” Lipton happily admitted that he was “100 percent wrong.” The legendary show aired for 22 seasons and 274 episodes.
“The decision that we made in the beginning was that we don’t pre-interview,” Lipton said of the show’s unique format. “What that did was it forced us into a conversation where neither of us knows what’s coming next. We’ve compared it to a circus tent with a high wire up at the top — the guest goes up one ladder, I go up the other, and we meet in the middle of that tightrope for four hours with no net.”
Over its two-decade run under Lipton’s tutelage, Inside the Actors Studio featured an impressive list of guests that started with Alec Baldwin in 1994 and went on to include Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Sidney Pollack, Carol Burnett, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney and many more. Lipton revealed that some of his favorite guests included Dave Chappelle and late Superman star Christopher Reeve. Reeve was interviewed in what was his first appearance after the tragic 1995 horse riding accident that left him paralyzed.
Last year, James Lipton received his 20th Emmy nomination, one for almost every season of Inside the Actors Studio.
You can see James Lipton interviewing Al Pacino on Inside the Actors Studio below.