- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; First edition (May 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385533748
- ISBN-13: 978-0385533744
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 122 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV Hardcover – 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
WARREN LITTLEFIELD is the former NBC president of entertainment. Previous to that, he was the NBC comedy executive who developed such hit shows as The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He currently runs his own television production company.
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.
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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.
I enjoyed this book,written by the ex head of NBC programming,Warren Littlefield. The title of the book details when NBC was the #1 network in the 80's.The book goes into detail how NBC's powerhouse Thurs night shows e.g "Seinfeld, CheersFamily Ties, Hill St. Blues" all became hits.It was interesting reading the actors/writers/producers account how the shows made it from pilots to the primetime schedule. Its a fast paced book,I recommend it. Sue Adams
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. For example, little credit is given to Mr. Littlefield's predecessors (Grant Tinker and Brandon Tartikoff) until the closing acknowledgments at the back of the book. In the last full chapter, Mr. Littlefield completes his attack on who proved to be his ultimate successor (Jeff Zucker) but with an eye to the future (the back cover suggests that Mr. Littlefield owns a television production company), he blows a kiss to the current NBC programming head, Comcast's Bob Greenblatt.
So Littlefield gets to fire the first shots. I can't wait to read the sequels from Jeff Zucker, Dan Ohlmeyer and Bob Wright.