Desperate Networks by Bill Carter

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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 . . .

About Bill Carter

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Bill Carter is the author of Red Summer: The Danger, Madness, and Exaltation of Salmon Fishing in a Remote Alaskan Village and Fools Rush In: A True Story of Love, War, and Redemption. He has written for Rolling Stone, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other publications.
Published May 1, 2007 by Crown Business. 434 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Bill Carter's 1994 bestseller The Late Shift covered the backstage machinations that led to Jay Leno taking over The Tonight Show and David Letterman moving to CBS, but it was really a book about the loss of institutional memory at the big media outlets.

Jun 07 2006 | Read Full Review of Desperate Networks

Entertainment Weekly

Instead, Carter rejects a strict narrative structure — any narrative structure, really — bouncing haphazardly from network to network.

Apr 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Desperate Networks

USA Today

The Big Three networks held the lion's share of viewers, and the way they did business stayed the same year after year.

| Read Full Review of Desperate Networks

Business Week

To do this right, they’ll need to cut a deal with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo that lets them harness the fast-improving targeting technology those companies are spending so much money on.

May 14 2007 | Read Full Review of Desperate Networks

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