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Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TVby Warren Littlefield
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Former NBC Entertainment president Littlefield, who now runs his own TV production company, recalls, 'When I was running NBC Entertainment, the shows that made our schedule were my choices, and I didn't ask approval of anyone.' 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 (A Short History of a Small Place) interviewed more than 50 actors, writers, producers, agents, and executives. Throughout, much praise is aimed at director Jim Burrows, labeled by Littlefield as 'the most successful director in television comedy — ever.' The 19 contributing actors include Kelsey Grammer, Sean Hayes, Lisa Kudrow, John Lithgow, Julianna Margulies, and Jerry Seinfeld, but 'the network suits' get equal time. Rather than a q&a format, excerpted quotes are spliced chronologically by subject. Thus, the voices of 15 people trace Seinfeld from its 'disastrous' 1989 pilot tests to its newsworthy finale nine seasons later. 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 Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
WARREN LITTLEFIELD is the former NBC president of entertainment. Previous to that, he was the NBC comedy executive who developed such hit shows as The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He currently runs his own television production company.
T. R. PEARSON is the author of fourteen novels, including A Short History of a Small Place, and a dozen screenplays.
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