In the executive offices of the four major networks, sweeping changes are taking place and billions of dollars are at stake. Now Bill Carter, bestselling author of The Late Shift, goes behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of the television industry, capturing the true portraits of the larger-than-life moguls and stars who make it such a cutthroat business.
In a time of sweeping media change, the four major networks struggle for the attention of American viewers increasingly distracted by cable, video games, and the Internet. Behind boardroom doors, tempers flare in the search for hit shows, which often get on the air purely by accident.
The fierce competition creates a pressure-cooker environment where anything can happen . . .
NBC’s fall from grace—Once the undisputed king of prime time, NBC plunged from first place to last place in the ratings in the course of a single season. What will be the price of that collapse—and who will pay it?
CBS’s slow and steady race to the top—Unlike NBC, CBS, under the leadership of CEO, Leslie Moonves, engineered one of the most spectacular turnarounds in television history. But in this ruthless world, you’re only as good as last week’s ratings . . . .
ABC’s surprising resurrection—Lost and Desperate Housewives—have brought ABC the kind of success it could only dream of in the past. So why don’t the executives responsible for those hits work there any more?
The End of the News As We Know It—In a stunningly short period of time, all three of the major network news anchors—Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings—signed off, leaving executives scrambling for a way to keep network news relevant in an era of 24/7 information.
Crazy Like Fox—They’re outrageous, unconventional, and occasionally off-putting, but more and more people are watching Fox shows. Most of all they keep watching American Idol. How did Simon Cowell snooker himself into a huge payday? Stay tuned . . .
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.
Bill Carter is a misogynist
He actually says that Teri Hatcher is smart - for an actress.