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Top of the Rock (Lib)(CD) Audio CD – May 1, 2012
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"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.”
"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 dish, as well as others interested in breaking into the TV biz, will find much to enjoy in this charming reliving of Littlefield's glory days."
"With entertaning insider's perspective, Littlefield transports readers back to a seemingly magical time when half the country would watch the same show."
About the Author
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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
And yet, with such a terrific and broad topic, "Top of the Rock" sometimes feels stronger in parts than it does as a whole. Maybe there was simply too much material. Far from a comprehensive accounting of anything in particular, this is snapshots of history. There is a certain randomness to what is covered and at what length. When the book is digging deep, it can be absolutely riveting. Most of the time, however, topics are introduced and dismissed with little development. Chapters can spend 20 pages talking about a show's premiere and 1 page on the following decade when it aired. It is so hit or miss in its presentation, I became absolutely frustrated in the telling. But still, if you love entertainment stories--this would be hard for me not to recommend.Read more ›
There are some interesting facts and anecdotes revealed along the way, but much of the book felt like an excuse for Littlefield to settle a couple of old scores. Way too much of the book involves Littlefield and his former subordinates trashing Kelsey Grammer (described as a difficult actor with bad judgment and a substance abuse problem) and NBC president Don Ohlmeyer (depicting him as a boorish drunk with no creative instincts who contributed nothing to the success of the network's schedule) and touting his creative brilliance. It may all be true, but it still felt like sour grapes and became very tiresome.
All in all, it's worth reading if you're student of TV history, but it's not a very good book... not nearly as fascinating, revealing or well written as Season Finale: The Unexpected Rise and Fall of the WB and UPN, Susanne Daniels' recent memoir of programming the WB, which later merged with its rival UPN to create the CW, a book I highly recommend.
Given the amount of people involved in each show, it is unclear for a reader to determine how much credit should be given to Mr.Littlefield's contributions to each of these and other shows through the years but the quotes attributed to the people interviewed (from Jerry Seinfeld to Jim Burrows to Bob Wright to Jack Welch) suggest that it was indeed substantial. If this book has a second theme, it would be to serve as documentation that James Burrows was the greatest thing to ever happen to television sitcoms and that former NBC executive Dan Ohlmeyer (who was eventually allowed to fire Littlefield) was a chronic and moving obstacle.
Mr. Littlefield's former boss, the now deceased Brandon Tartikoff, once said that Mr. Littlefield was like a cockroach who could survive a nuclear war. We get to see those survival instincts in this book.Read more ›
My problem with this book is its format. The book is organized by chapters (so far, so good), and each chapter covers a topic or show, like Cheers or Seinfeld. That makes sense, so far. Then the chapter starts with a blurb from the author, former NBC President of Entertainment Warren Littlefield. The blurb is set off with the author's name in bold so we know he's the one doing the "talking". Then it's followed by paragraph after paragraph of quotes from other contributors, some of whom you know and some you don't. This pattern keeps going, round-robin style, as the topic meanders along.
Some of the quotes pertain to the topic, and some of them seem completely irrelevant. And since they are just set up with the contributor's name, you have to wrack your brain to remember who that person was. Is this somebody I'm supposed to know? If it's a celebrity's name, then it's usually pretty simple. But if it's someone's manager or publicist or an exec from NBC, maybe the name doesn't ring a bell.
There's nothing to stitch these quotes together at all. The pages present the quotes as if they're all part of a conversation, but it's clear that all of these contributors weren't sitting around in a room talking with each other. I think they were interviewed and then the contents of their interviews were parsed and patched back up into these pseudo conversations. They completely lack continuity though.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book is amazing. i have purchased 7 other copies and have gifted to friends who have loved and also paid it forward and bought their friends copies. it's a must readPublished 1 month ago by Abbey sibucao
This a collection of a number of paragraphs from interviews by random people associated with the biggest American TV shows from the 90's sort of cut and paste into some sort of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by James N Simpson
This is a weirdly structured book, filled with talking heads and no real structure. Fortunately, the heads are those you'd like to hear from, making this a decent read that covers... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Timothy Hall
A great, great read from start to finish. A true, refreshingly candid gem for television and pop culture nerds of any stripe.Published 14 months ago by Brandon Henslee
This is an excellent book for those who are interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects that go into building a network lineup of good shows. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Robert W. Kates
If ever there was a book I was looking forward to, it was Warren Littlefield's account of his days as NBC President of Entertainment. Read morePublished 18 months ago by K. Harris
Very good chronicle of a specific time of a specific TV phenomena.Published 19 months ago by Marc R
If you love television, especially the quality shows that NBC called "must see", then you will find this book fascinating. The inside info. Was outstanding. Read morePublished 20 months ago by T. Varga