- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Broadway; Reprint edition (May 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0767919742
- ISBN-13: 978-0767919746
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Desperate Networks Paperback – May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The power relationships of network television have turned topsy-turvy in the last five years. Carter, who covers the industry for the New York Times, reveals as one example how NBC was muscled out of its first-place standing as the other networks developed hit after hit. The shows he chooses to showcase are instantly recognizable—American Idol, Survivor, Desperate Housewives—and in every case, the show's path to the airwaves is at least as dramatic as its content. Though Carter is primarily concerned with prime-time hits, his reporting spreads out from the TodayShow to the nightly newscasts and, harking back to his bestselling The Late Shift, the negotiations that cemented Conan O'Brien as Jay Leno's successor on The Tonight Show. Despite multiple narrative threads, the story never gets confusing or bogged down. Though some clear heroes emerge, like Housewives creator Marc Cherry, most of the key figures, from Idol's acerbic Simon Cowell to network execs like CBS head Les Moonves and NBC's Jeff Zucker, are depicted ambiguously, reflecting failures as well as successes. And it's Carter's insider access, illuminating the players' states of mind, that makes this backstage drama so riveting. (May 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Carter's book The Late Shift (1996), also an HBO movie, focused on the vicious battle for Johnny Carson's coveted spot on The Tonight Show. Here he tackles the entire industry, taking a behind-the-scenes look at network television's struggle to compete for eyeballs and revenue dollars with looming distractions from the likes of cable, TiVo, and computers. Despite all that, no hit can create the type of sensation that a network megahit can. Carter takes us into the process at the executive decision-making level, where network bigwigs clamor for years for the next monster hit only to have it slip through their hands and wind up on a competing network. The shake-ups are evident: NBC's "Must-See TV" dominance ended with the last episode of Friends, ABC rose from the ashes with Lost and Desperate Housewives, and Fox constantly challenges the old guard. All three major network news anchors--Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings--signed off in an amazingly short period of time. Without resorting to gossip, Carter digs up the dirt on the shows you love and the ones you love to hate. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The breakdown of the book was about what I had expected, although the author focused a bit more on the creation of shows than the business side of running the networks than I had hoped. As a fan of Lost, it was great to hear about how that show came to life. Personally don't care for Desperate Housewives, but the writing is good and the stories are entertaining. If you like CSI, The Apprentice, Survivor... it's really interesting to learn about the stories behind their creation. (Did you know UPN could've had Survivor and didn't pull the trigger on it?)
In 5 years, when none of these shows are still on the air, this might not be as fascinating. But if you're a TV fan, this is absolutely worth checking out.