James Lipton is leaving the Actors Studio.
The longtime host and executive producer of the popular interview series Inside the Actors Studio is handing over the keys to the kingdom. Ovation announced Monday that it will be the new home to the art -of-acting program beginning in fall 2019, and that a rotating roster of hosts still to be determined will replace Lipton.
“It’s very gratifying to see the legacy of Inside The Actors Studio being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy,” Lipton said in a statement. “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.”
The series started as a craft seminar for Actors Studio students at the MFA program at Pace University, beginning with Paul Newman as the first televised guest. Over the past two decades, the series has welcomed some of the biggest talents in Hollywood, including Sally Field, Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, and George Clooney.
In 2013, the series won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special Category. Lipton also won the Critics Choice award for Best Host in 2015.
Bravo, which has been home to the series for more than two decades, said in separate statement, “Inside the Actors Studio was Bravo’s first original series, getting 19 Emmy nominations and an Emmy win over the last 24 years, and it will always be a part our family. We’ve had a legendary run with Jim and we’ve all enjoyed his unique interview style, comprehensive research, intimate conversations and his impact on pop culture. With Jim at the helm, the series became a must stop for A-List Hollywood and creative talent. Now that there will be a new host, we felt it was time to close this chapter and pass the baton.”
Scott Woodward, executive vice president of programming and production at Ovation, said in a statement, “Ovation is dedicated to supporting The Actors Studio’s commitment to providing the best educational resources for its students. In so doing, we will uphold the high standard set by James Lipton for excellence in producing programming that is multicultural, informational, enlightening and entertaining. We look forward to introducing a whole new generation to the craft of acting through vibrant new hosts and guests that we will begin to announce in the coming months.”
Though no one will ask “What do you hope you hear when you reach the pearly gates?” or “What’s your favorite curse word?” quite the same way as Lipton.