Top of the Rock

  • by Warren Littlefield, T. R. Pearson
  • Narrated by Bob Balaban
  • 9 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Littlefield's compulsively readable saga, Top of the Rock, is a great tale of folly." (Dick Donahue for PW)
"With entertaning insider's perspective, Littlefield transports readers back to a seemingly magical time when half the country would watch the same show." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Meh.

Would you try another book from Warren Littlefield and T. R. Pearson and/or Bob Balaban?

Probably not. The writing and performance were extremely bland.


What didn’t you like about Bob Balaban’s performance?

Much of the book were transcripts of interviews, and Balaban's performance did nothing to help the listener discern who was speaking. For example:

Warren Littlefield: It was a terrific time for us at NBC.
Jennifer Aniston: Yes, we felt we could really get into our roles without too much network interefence.

Bland, bland, bland.


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- DSL in LA

Nostalgic Look at NBC in the 90's

What made the experience of listening to Top of the Rock the most enjoyable?

Hearing about the exciting events of the time from my favorite writers and stars.


What other book might you compare Top of the Rock to and why?

Live From New York (the SNL book). EXCEPT this book is much, much better to listen to because it (a) is not as long and boring, and (b) only has one narrator. The SNL book had too many narrators, which was really distracting.


What about Bob Balaban’s performance did you like?

He did a good job of reflecting the meaning of the words behind the quotes, without trying to imitate Seinfeld, for example.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's not that kind of book. But I guess the most impressive thing was all the moving parts that went into the successful spinoff of Frasier, especially considering how many things could have gone wrong, and how many spinoff disasters there have been before and since.


Any additional comments?

Really awesome book for anyone that loves TV.

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- Jill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio