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The oddities, idiosyncrasies, anomalies, peculiarities and good old- fashioned honest truths documented by Ira Glass’ “This American Life” were, for more than a decade, relegated to the fringes of our public radio waves. But “Life” has broken loose, and Salt Lake City is being blessed with a sneak preview of its televised incarnation.

“This American Life” debuted on Chicago public radio in 1995 under the moniker “Your Radio Playhouse” with the goal of documenting acute flashes of the American way. Although the original title was dropped by 1996, the structure-one theme for each show containing various acts related to that theme-stuck.

Themes vary and are taken from the entire spectrum of human experience and emotion. “Act V” followed inmates at a high-security prison through the rehearsing and staging of the final act of “Hamlet.” “Babysitting” featured two teenagers who ended up babysitting children who didn’t exist. “Somewhere in the Arabian Sea” spent time with a woman risking her life in Iraq to stock vending machines for U.S. soldiers.

Glass has employed a notable list of contributors, including David Sedaris (acclaimed essayist and author of Naked and Barrel Fever, among many more), Michael Chabon (2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) and Russell Banks (president of the International Parliament of Writers). Glass has also helped launch the careers of many aspiring writers.

Talks began in 1999 for creating a television series to accompany the radio program, and in January 2007 it was announced that “This American Life” has entered into a contract with the Showtime network to produce 30 half-hour-long episodes hosted by Ira Glass. The first episode airs March 22.

Lara Jones, of local independent radio practitioners KCPW, will be hosting a sneak preview screening of four pilot episodes of “This American Life” tonight at the Tower Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The screening is open to the public and admission is free.