Top of the Rock: The Rise and Fall of Must See TV: An Oral History

Warren Littlefield with T.R. Pearson. Doubleday, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-53374-4
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. (May 1)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Open Ebook - 242 pages - 978-0-385-53375-1
Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-0-449-00943-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-00941-3
Hardcover - 505 pages - 978-1-4104-4871-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-307-73976-6
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