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Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The first audience, of which I consider myself a member, might be called the "media insider crew". Not only comprised of media professionals (I am not one), this audience consists of those who, perhaps like Mr. Stelter did years ago, rush to consume any media about the media. This audience would no doubt already be intimately familiar with the saga of Ann Curry's departure from Today, due to Joe Hagan's article, Howard Kurtz's interview, and Mr. Stelter's book adaptation in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday. This audience would have cut its teeth on the classics of the genre such as "The War for Late Night" and "The Late Shift".
The second audience might be called the "Barnes & Noble crew". This audience would consist of those who might spot the book at their local bookstore and think, "A book about morning TV! I love GMA! Let's check it out."
As I mentioned, these two audiences will, in my opinion, have very different reactions.
Let's start with the Barnes & Noble crew. If you're in this group, you'll be fascinated. The book reads like a person-to-person discussion of the goings-on in morning TV. Booking wars, job interview lunches, control room conversations. The tone is conversational, the content free-flowing and organized in somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness manner. Reading this might indeed convert some in this audience to the other group and get them as hooked on media inside information as Mr. Stelter himself is.
Now the media insider crew. Here, the reaction might be more mixed.Read more ›
Ann Curry fans looking for some kind of sympathy from the author need look elsewhere. While I don't think Brian Stelter hates Ann, he forthrightly points out her weaknesses as co-host and reveals her painful blunders. As is the case with a lot of people, I think Stelter likes Ann and respects her as a journalist but knew she was wrong for the role. That is one part of the book that surprised me. Ann, too, questioned her ability to pull it off.
But Stelter knows how to give the TODAY Show viewer what they want. He answered many of the questions I had been asking for months. He even pointed out something I thought no one else caught. During the agonizing 4 minute and 30 second self-firing, Matt Lauer said "Can we just say this isn't goodbye?" It was at that moment that Ann looked down and sarcastically said "Nah." Almost as if she were saying "Yeah right. I'm being FIRED Matt. This is most definitely goodbye."
It will also give the GMA fans what they have known all along. They all really DO like each other and fought hard to put on a fun show. It's not my taste, but you have to give them credit.Read more ›
It rehashes much of what we already know about the "morning wars" with none of the finesse of a Bill Carter. There is very little new here unless you know absolutely nothing about television or have ignored the media stories of the past 18 months. Instead we get snarky pseudo-analysis from a guy who thinks this is an exercise in creative writing. I should be surprised he writes for the New York Times but considering how bad that paper has gotten (only hiring reporters that will communicate the paper's bias) this book reflects everything that's wrong with journalism, and especially media reporters, today. While Stelter picks at GMA for being tabloid and entertainment, in truth he does a worse job at choosing pop culture hype over journalism (doing things like mentioning rumors of Lauer's affairs).
One of the major problems is that the author from the start overstates the importance of morning network TV to America. Very, very few people actually watch these shows (on an average morning the top three shows combine to attract less than 5% of the population!), yet the author says that the changes at Today were "big news...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's mostly "Good Morning America" and "Today", and very little about any CBS morning show (so much for being "inside the cutthroat world of morning TV"). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jerry7242
Hard to follow at some points. Grammar errors don't help with that.Published 2 months ago by Kristen
This was a book club choice. So I can claim that I would not have ordered it on my own. I did not like the style of the writing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Beverly Black
Interesting behind the scenes information. You will never look at these shows the same again.Published 7 months ago by David F.
I liked Late Shift by Bill Carter and got this book hoping to get inside scoop on the morning show front. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ayn Ducao