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The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present, Eighth Edition Paperback – October 14, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This is the Guinness Book of World Records . . .
The Encyclopedia Britannica of television!”
–TV Guide

From the Inside Flap



This is the must-have book for TV viewers in the new millennium?the entire history of prime-time programs in one convenient volume. It?s a guide you?ll turn to again and again for information on every series ever telecast. There are entries for all the great shows, from evergreens like I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and Happy Days, to modern classics like Will & Grace, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Friends; all the gripping sci-fi series, from Captain Video and The X-Files to all versions of Star Trek; the popular serials, from Peyton Place to Dallas to Dawson?s Creek; and the runaway hits on cable, including CNN, The Real World, The Osbournes, and Sponge Bob Square Pants. This comprehensive guide lists every program alphabetically and includes a complete broadcast history, cast, and engaging plot summary? along with exciting behind-the-scenes stories about the shows and the stars.

MORE THAN 500 ALL-NEW LISTINGS, from Survivor and The Bachelor to C.S.I. and The West Wing.
UPDATES ON CONTINUING SHOWS, such as ER, Frasier, 7th Heaven, and The Simpsons.
EXTENSIVE CABLE COVERAGE of more than 800 entries, including a description of the programming on each major cable network.
BRAND-NEW IN THIS EDITION?an exclusive ?Ph.D. Trivia Quiz? of two hundred questions to challenge even the most ardent TV fan; plus a streamlined guide to TV-related Web sites for all those who want to be constantly up-to-date.

? Annual program schedules at a glance for the past fifty-seven years ? Top-rated shows of each season ? Emmy Award winners ? Longest running series ? Spin-off series ? Theme songs ? A fascinating history of TV

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1592 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 8 edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345455428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345455420
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The information contained in this book is astounding. I can't tell you how many times I have consulted this book whenever we see an actor on a TV show and wonder, "Where have we seen him/her before?" Rarely has that question not been answered in the pages of this book. I've bought the last four editions, and have a "hand-me-down chain" well established: my sister gets the second-most-recent edition, and she passes the previous one onto her son-in-law.
Inaccuracies? With the volume of television information out there, there are bound to be small mistakes here and there. The authors encourage readers to submit corrections to the book, and I myself have done so. (In fact, my name appears in the acknowledgments page of this edition as having contributed a correction.)
Out-of-date information? This book is only updated once every three to four years (to update it more often would be cost-prohibitive), and the last revision was in 1999. The publication information on the Amazon.com item page clearly says this, and the book's introduction also gives the "official" cut-off date for updated information. The next edition should be just around the corner.
My library would not be complete without this book, and I will, without hesitation, be buying the next edition as soon as it hits the shelves.
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Format: Paperback
Brooks and Marsh have compiled what is far and away the best reference book for prime time television. Each entry includes the genre, the dates of first and last broadcast, the broadcast history of the show as to times and days of the week, and the cast members (hosts or regulars for reality programming). Then there is a description of the program, the length of which depends on how long that particular program aired. Clearly, the basics are covered in this compilation. My guess is that sooner or later they are going to have to come out with a CD-Rom edition or they are going to have to do two volumes.
The other strengths of this volume are the introductory essay "A Short History of Network Television" and the Appendixes which provide Prime Time Schedules, Emmy Award Winners, Top-Rated Programs by Season, Longest-Running Series, The Top 100 Series of All Time, Prime Time Series Reunion Telecasts, Series Airing in Prime Time on More Than One Network, Prime Time Spinoffs, Prime Time Series Based on Movies, Prime Time Network TV Series that Also Aired on Network Radio, and Hit Theme Songs from Series. The Index of Personalities and Performers allows you to track your favorites from series to series throughout the history of the tube.
In regards to their introductory examination of the trends in programming that have created specific eras in prime time, I would argue that Brooks and Marsh jumped the gun a little bit on characterizing the 1990s as the Ear of Choice. Certainly that is where we are now, but for the first part of that decade I think that network programming was dominated by female oriented programs. The Nielsen Top 10 included "Roseanne," "Murphy Brown," "The Golden Girls," "Designing Women," "Murder, She Wrote," and "Grace Under Fire" at some point during that period.
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Format: Paperback
I've owned every edition of this book and it just keeps getting better and better. Now they even include all the 'minor' networks (A&E, Nickelodeon, BET, ...) and some of those networks' first run shows. Every prime-time show through the 1998 season is covered with cast lists and air dates. The appendices have expanded the yearly ratings to include the Top 30 shows. About the only thing missing would be highest and lowest rated episode of each show, and that might be asking for too much.
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Format: Paperback
PRE-DELIVERY COMMENTS: This is the latest edition of a big fat guidebook to everything that is or was television in the US. Previous editions have been so thorough in their content that I can't imagine what will be added to this one I am a trivia nut-case and I'm sure there will be more lists and more cross-indexes than ever before! I have been buying this book every time it's revised since the 3rd edition, when I first discovered it. In addition to listing all TV shows in alphabetical order, it gives the cast members' names and the years they played their characters. It gives a synopsis of each show's plotline and the roles the characters played in the plot development. Cast changes are explained, where necessary. Every listed actor is cross-indexed in the back of the book to all the shows he/she played on, no matter how many shows there were.
Various appendices give fascinating insight into television history and trivia, like top 20 shows each year, theme music that became hit records and shows that hopped from one network to another in the search for success. Special shows, like The Tonight Show, get special treatment. A history of the development of the TV networks is also presented.
If enthusiasm qualified me for a free book, I'd have a carton of them on my doorstep, but I'll be buying mine, just like everybody else and doing it eagerly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
February 2012 Addendum: I just read a comment made by one of the authors, Tim Brooks, which is from an interview he did shortly after this editions publication in October 2007. He stated there that this edition may be the last one. The article can be found here: [...] I can't describe how disappointed I am at this, now belated, news! This is one of my all time favorite books, and I've purchased every edition since around 1988. The tenth edition should have come out nearly four months ago now. I contacted the publisher and they informed me that this book is not on their schedule for publication for the next 12 months. It seems that his comment has now come true. Unless someone else takes it over, we probably seen the last edition of this outstanding publication.

I have been purchasing this book since the fourth edition, which was Published in approximately October 1988 or so. I love this book! It tells you pretty much ever wanted to know about a TV show and its cast! I am constantly referring to it when watching my favorite reruns, and often just browse through it, and seem to always across and old favorite that I'd not thought about for some time! I also love the grid section in the back that tells you what each Networks' schedule was like season by season.
This book is revised every three (3) or four (4) years. This current edition came out in the Fall of 2007, so the tenth edition should be out within the next couple of months if they follow their previous publication pattern. You can learn not only about the shows, but who was in them, what other shows they did, and occasionally some information about noteworthy guest stars.
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