The Sunday Magazine

In conversation with Emmy-award-winning legend Dick Cavett

Three Emmy Awards, seven additional nominations and a show that ran on seven different television networks from 1968 to 2007 — The Dick Cavett Show had a long and illustrious run.

Michael Enright interviews 'the thinking person's talk show host'

Television talk shows have rarely been so bracing and aggressively intelligent, so full of erudition, sophistication and wry wit as The Dick Cavett Show. (Richard Shotwell CP/AP)

Originally published on November 2014.

TV talk shows have rarely been so bracing. 

In fact, listening to tape of The Dick Cavett Show in the 1960s and '70s today, it sounds almost anachronistic: prime-time television full of erudition and a wry, quick wit; a willingness to ask uncomfortable questions and sit through equally uncomfortable silences; an edgy sense that anything could have happened when heavyweight intellects, pop-cultural icons and strong, sometimes volatile personalities got together in front of a live audience and television cameras.

It was pertinent, pointed and, as former United States President Richard Nixon found out in the throes of Watergate, not afraid of being political.

If an actor, musician, writer, thinker or athlete had a strong presence in American culture chances are, at some point, he or she would have been seated in a swivel chair on the set of The Dick Cavett Show, which ran on seven different television networks from 1968 to 2007.

Dick Cavett has won three Emmy Awards and has been nominated for seven others, all the while building and consolidating a reputation as the thinking person's talk show host. 

These days, he writes an on-line column for The New York Times, and he's the author of a new book called Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks.

Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview.

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