Top Of The Rock by Warren Littlefield with T. R. Pearson

99%

16 Critic Reviews

Mr. Littlefield's entry in the shelf-esteem sweepstakes, "Top of the Rock," is an oral history of mostly 1990s television, with interview snippets from on- and off-screen talent and fellow executives.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, ER, Cheers, Law & Order, Will & Grace…Here is the funny, splashy, irresistible insiders’ account of the greatest era in television history -- told by the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the network executives who made it happen…and watched it all fall apart.

Warren Littlefield was the NBC President of Entertainment who oversaw the Peacock Network’s rise from also-ran to a division that generated a billion dollars in profits.  In this fast-paced and exceptionally entertaining oral history, Littlefield and NBC luminaries including Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Kelsey Grammer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Julianna Marguiles, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie, Debra Messing, Jack Welch, Jimmy Burrows, Helen Hunt, and Dick Wolf vividly recapture the incredible era of Must See TV.

From 1993 through 1998, NBC exploded every conventional notion of what a broadcast network could accomplish with the greatest prime-time line-up in television history. On Thursday nights, a cavalcade of groundbreaking comedies and dramas streamed into homes, attracting a staggering 75 million viewers and generating more revenue than all other six nights of programming combined. The road to success, however, was a rocky one. How do you turn a show like Seinfeld, one of the lowest testing pilots of all time, into a hit when the network overlords are constantly warring, or worse, drowning in a bottle of vodka?   

Top of the Rock
is an addictively readable account of the risky business decisions, creative passion, and leaps of faith that made Must See TV possible. Chock full of delicious behind-the-scenes anecdotes that run the gamut from hilarious casting and programming ploys to petty jealousies and drug interventions, you’re in for a juicy, unputdownable read.
 

About Warren Littlefield with T. R. Pearson

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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 a dozen screenplays.
 
Published May 1, 2012 by Anchor. 338 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 10 2012
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Critic reviews for Top Of The Rock
All: 16 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Feb 01 2012

With an entertaining insider’s perspective, Littlefield transports readers back to a seemingly magical time when half the country would watch the same show.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by TOM PRINCE on Apr 27 2012

Mr. Littlefield's entry in the shelf-esteem sweepstakes, "Top of the Rock," is an oral history of mostly 1990s television, with interview snippets from on- and off-screen talent and fellow executives.

Read Full Review of Top Of The Rock | See more reviews from WSJ online

Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Bookreporter on May 01 2012

...is an addictively readable account of the risky business decisions, creative passion, and leaps of faith that made Must See TV possible.

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Todd VanDerWerff on May 21 2012

When the story is about how the network took gambles on risky-seeming pilots that ultimately paid off, Top Of The Rock has a breezy, insider quality that makes for compulsive reading.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by DAVID BAUDER on May 07 2012

Littlefield said he wrote the book for fans, not for score-settling or vindication. To the latter point, the facts speak loudly enough.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristi Turnquist, on May 05 2012

"Top of the Rock: Inside and Rise and Fall of Must See TV," a breezily readable oral history, takes us back to when these and other shows were just ideas.

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Chicago Sun Times

Excellent
Reviewed by RICHARD ROEP on May 29 2012

“Top of the Rock” is filled with memories from key players as well as Littlefield’s memories of telling moments.

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NY Daily News

Excellent
Reviewed by Sherryl Connelly on Apr 22 2012

...is instead an oral history of the shows that powered NBC’s “Must See TV” where stars, suits and studio types spill on the making of the late, great watercooler shows of an era, “ER,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends” among them.

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The West End Times

Excellent
Reviewed by westendadmin on Jun 10 2012

...has plenty of luridly fascinating anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from the boardrooms of 30 Rock and Burbank...which provides everything from insights to how a TV show is developed, to just plain interesting bits of trivia.

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Think Progress

Excellent
Reviewed by Alyssa Rosenberg on Jun 06 2012

I’m finding it most amusing as a chronicle of things that television network executives and standards and practices divisions are afraid of.

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HitFix

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Sepinwall on May 30 2012

It's a very entertaining book, particularly in the small details, like La Salle revealing the origin of Peter Benton's famous karate punch...

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Variety

Excellent
Reviewed by Brian Lowry on Apr 18 2012

Yet the book carries a more subtle, potentially depressing message, given the friction detailed between the former NBC Entertainment president and two bosses...

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Alternative Control

Excellent
Reviewed by JW on Aug 01 2012

...Top of the Rock is a fascinating portrayal of how your favorite shows were made.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Excellent
Reviewed by ROB OWEN on Jul 02 2012

For fans of TV who enjoy peeking behind the curtain, "Top of the Rock" offers a breezy, enjoyable trip into the behind the scenes world of network television just before its dominance began to erode.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Whitney Matheson on Jun 26 2012

I picked up this book a few days ago and was surprised by what a compelling read it is.

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The JK Review

Good
Reviewed by The JK Review on Jul 03 2012

The book is told through snippets of interview conversations with actors, producer, directors, and executives who were involved with the creative processes on these Must See TV shows.

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Reader Rating for Top Of The Rock
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