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.
About Warren Littlefield and T. R. Pearson
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 Warwolf. This is his fifth nonfiction book.
With the assistance of novelist Pearson (Warwolf, 2011, etc.), former NBC president of entertainment Littlefield gathers candid comments from actors, executives and behind-the-scenes people responsible for some of the most successful TV shows of the 1990s. The subjects relate everything from their struggles to make it in the entertainment industry to dealing with the type of overnight fame that many of them eventually enjoyed. In particular, the book focuses on the cast and crew of Seinfeld and Friends, programs that dealt with early hardships before later enjoying unabashed success. Perhaps the most scandalous aspect of the book, however, is Littlefield’s willingness to throw his former boss Don Ohlmeyer under the bus. Ohlmeyer, who apparently understood very little about TV, arrived at NBC after Littlefield had been there for years and assumed a position above him in the corporate hierarchy. While his struggles with addiction and subsequent stint in rehab are a matter of public record, many of the interviews here shed light on the significance of the daily frustrations of Ohlmeyer’s battle with alcoholism. Interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Lisa Kudrow, among others, are particularly interesting because they worked with NBC both in front of and behind the camera. None of the interviewees shy away from negative topics, including the letdowns of test-screening results and executives not realizing which shows would later become hits. – Kirkus Reviews
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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