|Show Name:||TV Nation|
|Theme Music Composer:||tomandandy|
|Picture Format:||480i (SDTV)|
|Producer:||Kathleen Glynn, |
|First Aired:||July 19, 1994|
|Last Aired:||September 8, 1995|
|Followed By:||The Awful Truth|
|List Episodes:||List of TV Nation episodes|
TV Nation was a satirical newsmagazine television series written, directed and hosted by Michael Moore that was co-funded and originally broadcast by NBC in the United States and BBC2 in the United Kingdom. The show blended humor and journalism into provocative reports about various issues. After moving to Fox for its second (and final) season, the show won an Emmy in 1995 for "Outstanding Informational Series."
TV Nation was created in the wake of the success Moore had with the documentary Roger & Me, prompting Warner Bros. television to ask Moore for television series ideas. In January 1993 NBC green-lit a pilot episode which took three months to complete. Interest from the BBC prompted NBC to insert the show into its summer 1994 lineup.
After the success of the 1989 documentary Roger & Me, Michael Moore and producer Kathleen Glynn (who is married to Moore under her own name) were approached by Warner Bros. television about creating ideas for a television series. However, Moore was intent on making the full-length film Canadian Bacon after writing the script in the summer of 1991. After having his script passed on many times, it was on a visit to Hollywood in November 1992 about the movie that Moore received a phone call in his hotel room from NBC. Without a single TV show idea in mind, Moore agreed to meet with NBC executives about TV show ideas that afternoon. Frantic for ideas, Moore brainstormed over a carphone with producer Glynn on his half hour drive to Burbank, out of which TV Nation spawned. As Moore and Glynn would later describe it, TV Nation "would be a humorous magazine show but with one distinct difference--it would have a point of view." Expecting the concept to be quickly dismissed by NBC executives during the meeting, Moore proceeded to describe the show in the most ludicrous ways possible, saying, "it would be a cross between 60 Minutes and Fidel Castro on laughing gas." Instead of quickly dismissing Moore's pitch, the NBC executives (including Warren Littlefield) were laughing. When Moore returned to his hotel, a message had already been left for him saying that production of a pilot episode had the go-ahead.
Production on the pilot episode of TV Nation began in January 1993. Moore initially turned to friends and colleagues in many production areas, while also making a point to ensure the show's employees were unionized. For the show's title sequence, graphic designer Chris Harvey put together the images, and music group tomandandy wrote the TV Nation theme. . After completing the pilot in three months, both NBC executives and focus groups were highly impressed with the show. But without room in their fall 1993 schedule, NBC indefinitely delayed committing to a full season. That winter, the head of BBC2 heard about the pilot, and after watching it offered to buy the show. With firm interest in the show, NBC offered to put TV Nation into its summer 1994 lineup.
See main article: List of TV Nation episodes. Season one was originally broadcast in the United States on NBC in the summer of 1994, with the premiere taking place on July 19, 1994. After NBC canceled the show after one season, it was subsequently picked up by Fox, and the second season aired in the summer of 1995.
TV Nation was formatted as a newsmagazine, with stories interspersed by short clips of the show's theme (for example, Moore spending a day with Dr. Jack Kevorkian) and factual polls surveying the American public. The show's investigative reports delved into various aspects of American life, and were filmed and presented in a style similar to Moore's feature-length documentaries (like "The Big One", for example).
The show featured segments such as "The Corporate Challenge," in which CEOs are challenged to prove they can use the products their companies create; the storming of the supposedly "private" beach in Greenwich, Connecticut; hiring ex-KGB officer Yuri Shvets to conduct investigations; an experiment to see if hiring a lobbyist for $5,000 could get the Congress to declare a "TV Nation Day" (it did); and "Crackers, the Corporate Crime-Fighting Chicken." Among its correspondents were Janeane Garofalo, Karen Duffy, Jonathan Katz, Rusty Cundieff and Louis Theroux. Crackers was first portrayed by Lee Brownstein, but "TV Nation" writer John Derevlany played Crackers for the remainder of the show's run. TV Nation also featured humorous (but true) public opinion polls, each conducted by the firm of Widgery and Associates from a random sample of Americans. 
The release of TV Nation on two VHS volumes in 1997 offered a chance to view two unaired segments considered too controversial to be aired on broadcast television at the time. In the first segment at the end of Volume One, one of the correspondents visits drug stores and inquires about extra-small sized condoms. The second unaired segment at the end of Volume Two looks at the Phelps family, known for picketing the funerals of AIDS victims.
TV Nation won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series on September 8, 1995, and was later named number 90 on the list of the British Film Institute's 100 Greatest British Television Programmes.  During its original broadcast run, TV Nation was recognized by the United States Congress in resolution H.J. 365, which declared August 16, 1994 as "TV Nation Day." TV Guide even named TV Nation one of the ten best television shows of 1995.
In December 1995, the Fox network decided not to pick up its option for more episodes of the show, despite receiving more letters and mail than they ever had for any show. By January 1997, the BBC had raised all of the necessary money for an eight-episode long third season of TV Nation, receiving funds from TV networks in five different countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France). What prevented the third season from becoming a reality was a lack of a major American television network outlet for the show. During this time reruns of the show began appearing on Comedy Central, and ratings for the first week were, in Moore's words, "incredible."
After TV Nation ended, two VHS volumes of the show were released in 1997. Adventures in a TV Nation, a book about the series written by Moore and Glynn, was published in 1998. The funding previously acquired from British broadcaster Channel 4 for a third season eventually turned into the new TV series The Awful Truth. It was broadcast on the Bravo cable television network in the US from 1999 to 2000. There are currently no known reruns of TV Nation being shown by a United States TV station or cable channel, nor are there any plans to release it on DVD or to online video sites like Hulu.com.