336 pages, 3.75 × 2.52 × 0.48 in
May 1, 2012
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0385533748
ISBN - 13: 9780385533744
About the Book
Here is the funny, splashy, irresistible insiders' account by the former NBC President of Entertainment 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.
Read from the Book
1Where Everybody Knows Your NameWarren: I arrived at NBC in December 1979, hired by Brandon Tartikoff to work in the comedy department. I was manager of comedy development, the junior member of the department. Brandon was a newly minted vice president of development at the network, which was mired in last place. I was twenty-seven years old, and though I had watched a lot of it, I knew next to nothing about network television. Brandon, my boss, was all of thirty.In what was just a three-way race for audience (there’d be no Fox Broadcasting until 1987), NBC was jokingly derided as number four. CBS had ten comedies on its schedule, including M*A*S*H, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Jeffersons, Alice, and One Day at a Time. ABC could boast fourteen sitcoms, among them Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Barney Miller, Soap, Taxi, and Three’s Company. At NBC, we had Diff’rent Strokes and Hello, Larry.In terms of general viewership, CBS led the way with about sixteen million households. ABC was a close second with fifteen million. NBC lagged well behind at twelve million. For the 1980 season, Little House on the Prairie was our top-rated show at sixteenth. We placed only four shows in the top thirty. There was nowhere to go but up.Worse still, NBC’s head of programming at the time was a man named Paul Klein. He had a background in audience research and had come up with the strategy of LOP, which stood for Least Objectionable Programming (I’m not kidding). The object was to piss off as few view
From the Publisher
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 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.
"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"A fascinating oral history of shows like Seinfeld that defined an era." --New York Daily News“A chronicle of the last golden age of network television, [Top of the Rock] is the literary equivalent of a former NBC Thursday night lineup…Littlefield is the ultimate Must See insider. The mini-histories are a blast…full of fresh detail.”--The Hollywood Reporter"The former president of entertainment at NBC chronicles his tenure with the peacock with a little help from his friends, including Jerry Seinfeld, Kelsey Grammar, Sean Hayes, and a few assorted suits who helped him schedule and nuture some of the most memorable shows on the tube, including Cheers, Friends, and Seinfeld. And as entertained as audiences were by those programs, the real show was happening behind the scenes, where larger-than-life egos clashed over details large and small. Readers interested in the history of the network or simply wanting to hear the d