Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, ER, Cheers, Law & Order, Will & Grace… Here is the funny, splashy, irresistible insiders’ account of the greatest era in television history - told by the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the network executives who made it happen… and watched it all fall apart.
Warren Littlefield was the NBC President of Entertainment who oversaw the Peacock Network’s rise from also-ran to a division that generated a billion dollars in profits. In this fast-paced and exceptionally entertaining oral history, Littlefield and NBC luminaries including Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Kelsey Grammer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Julianna Marguiles, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie, Debra Messing, Jack Welch, Jimmy Burrows, Helen Hunt, and Dick Wolf vividly recapture the incredible era of Must See TV.
From 1993 through 1998, NBC exploded every conventional notion of what a broadcast network could accomplish with the greatest prime-time line-up in television history. On Thursday nights, a cavalcade of groundbreaking comedies and dramas streamed into homes, attracting a staggering 75 million viewers and generating more revenue than all other six nights of programming combined. The road to success, however, was a rocky one. How do you turn a show like Seinfeld, one of the lowest testing pilots of all time, into a hit when the network overlords are constantly warring, or worse, drowning in a bottle of vodka?
Top of the Rock is an addictively readable account of the risky business decisions, creative passion, and leaps of faith that made Must See TV possible. Chock full of delicious behind-the-scenes anecdotes that run the gamut from hilarious casting and programming ploys to petty jealousies and drug interventions, you’re in for a juicy, unputdownable read.
©2012 Warren Littlefield (P)2012 Random House Audio
"To detail the exuberant 1990s’ events in the Peacock Network’s ascendancy (with such shows as Frasier, Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, and ER) Littlefield and novelist Pearson interviewed more than 50 actors, writers, producers, agents and executives... Littlefield unleashed a ‘financial geyser’ at NBC, and these revelatory glimpses of those glory days make this one of the more entertaining books published about the television industry.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Littlefield's compulsively readable saga, Top of the Rock, is a great tale of folly." (Dick Donahue for PW)
"With entertaning insider's perspective, Littlefield transports readers back to a seemingly magical time when half the country would watch the same show." (Kirkus)
The best part of this is the sort of business school-like case studies about managing creative ventures in the totally irrational marketplace of show business. It's a series of brief interviews from different vantage points.
It's not deep, nor thorough, slightly self serving, but I was entertained and it went by really quick. I recommend it.
Bob Balaban does a really solid read.
Interesting, Want More
I didn't feel like he sugar-coated anything when it came to Don Ohlmeyer. They are definitely not friends and he did not hold back in sharing what kind of boss he was. It amazes me that Don Ohlmeyer made it as far in his career as he did. It was nice to hear about how different shows came to fruition...who they tried to get for the characters of Friends, who passed, etc... For me that was the best. When it got to the business part of things (stock options, etc...) I would find my mind trailing off. When it came to the celebrities, he held them more with kid gloves, but it was still interesting to hear about the behind the scenes activities and what could have happened and what did happen. If you are interested in how Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Seinfield, ER, and all of those shows how they got off the ground, you should find this a good listen.
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