Introducing "Interviews 50 Cents."

Slate's online video magazine.
Oct. 10 2007 4:33 PM

Interviews 50 Cents

A new (and classic) video series comes to Slate.

Interviews, 50 cents.

NPR's Alex Chadwick says he got the idea from Lucy and her 5-cent psychiatry stand in the old Peanuts cartoons: Find an interesting location with lots of passers-by, set up a card table, two microphones, a couple of chairs, and a sign that reads: "Interviews 50¢." Then wait. The interesting stories would come along.

The result was a series of funny, poignant, and memorable video segments that aired on ABC and PBS in the 1990s and early 2000s. Interactions often began with a potential interviewee asking Alex, "Do I pay you, or do you pay me?" Sometimes Alex would reply with an opaque, "Let's see how it goes," and other times with a more hard-nosed, "It depends on how good the story is."

Now, "Interviews 50 Cents" is coming to Slate V, the magazine's video arm. Starting today, we'll be running some of our favorite vintage episodes of "I50¢" (you can watch the first one, a chat with a "morning bartender" in the alcohol-soaked town of Key West, Fla., in the player below). And in the coming weeks, Alex and Emmy Award-winning producer Ray Farkas will bring us a brand-new series of "I50¢"episodes, commissioned especially for Slate V. (Isn't it comforting to know inflation hasn't affected the price of a good interview?)

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Andy Bowers is the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts. Follow him on Twitter.