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Lifestories is an American medical drama television series that premiered August 20, 1990, on NBC.[1] Done in a documentary style with off-screen narration by Robert Prosky, Lifestories was an attempt to make an extremely realistic medical drama answering questions like, "Exactly what goes on during the first 45 minutes of a heart attack?" "What is it like to be told that you have advanced colon cancer?"

GenreMedical drama
Created byJeffrey Lewis
Narrated byRobert Prosky
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
Executive producer(s)Jeffrey Lewis
Running time45 minutes
Original networkNBC
Original releaseAugust 20, 1990 (1990-08-20) –
July 14, 1991 (1991-07-14)


# Title Original airdate
1"Don Chapin"August 20, 1990 (1990-08-20)
Don Chapin (Richard Masur), an executive in the construction industry, is diagnosed with colon cancer.
2"Rebecca McManus and Steve Arnold"September 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
A childless couple in their 40s pursue a variety of fertility options.
3"Frank Brody"October 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)
Following a heart attack, efforts to save a retired Navy man's life are counted in real time on-screen.
4"Beverly Whitestone, Dan Drabowski, Sadie Maxwell, Lois Barnes"October 14, 1990 (1990-10-14)
Following four patients in a day at a plastic surgery clinic on the same day.
5"Wes, Laurie, Georgia"October 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)
6"Jerry Forchette"November 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)
An exterminator has an inoperable brain tumor.
7"Art Conforti"November 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)
A husband stages an intervention to save his wife from alcoholism.
8"The Hawkins Family"December 2, 1990 (1990-12-02)
Parents search for a child they gave up for adoption 15 years earlier in hopes of obtaining bone marrow for their son.
9"Steve Burdick"December 18, 1990 (1990-12-18)
A gay TV anchorman loses his lover to AIDS and is HIV-positive himself. He tells their story on the air.
10"Darryl Tevis"July 14, 1991 (1991-07-14)
A high school basketball player suffers a stroke.

"Steve Burdick" controversyEdit

"Steve Burdick" was originally scheduled to air on December 2, 1990.[2] Had it aired on that date it would have been one of several programs relating to AIDS airing in early December, which has been designated as World AIDS Month (December 1 being World AIDS Day).[3] Gay and AIDS activists accused NBC of pulling the episode out of fear of advertiser backlash, a charge that NBC denied.[4] A network spokesperson also denied that network schedulers were aware of World AIDS Month and, in a perhaps unfortunate choice of phrase, characterized the decision to pull the episode as a "straight programming decision".[5] Series producer Jeffrey Lewis also believed there was an economic motive, saying "I suspect a show about AIDS would not be popular with advertisers — particularly (when it focused on) a gay person with AIDS."[5] NBC changed Lifestories from a weekly series to a monthly one in December and on December 5 confirmed that "Steve Burdick" would be the first of the monthly episodes aired.[4]


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (August 20, 1990). "An Early Fall - Television: NBC will introduce five new series this week. 'Hull High' and 'Lifestories' offer a bizarre pairing tonight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  2. ^ Weinstein, Steve (November 20, 1990). "NBC Pulls AIDS-Themed 'Lifestories'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  3. ^ Brenner, Elisa (1992-12-06). "Changing Face of AIDS in the County". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  4. ^ a b Knight-Ridder Service (1990-12-10). "Hunter's Partner Killed". Aiken (SC) Standard. p. 4A.
  5. ^ a b The Hartford Courant (1990-12-18). "NBC series takes close look at AIDS case". The Santa Fe New Mexican. p. B-8.


  • Tim Brooks; Earle Marsh (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (8th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 687. ISBN 978-0-345-45542-0.

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