Frank oral history of a golden age of TV programming.
With the assistance of novelist Pearson (Warwolf, 2011, etc.), former NBC president of entertainment Littlefield gathers candid comments from actors, executives and behind-the-scenes people responsible for some of the most successful TV shows of the 1990s. The subjects relate everything from their struggles to make it in the entertainment industry to dealing with the type of overnight fame that many of them eventually enjoyed. In particular, the book focuses on the cast and crew of Seinfeld and Friends, programs that dealt with early hardships before later enjoying unabashed success. Perhaps the most scandalous aspect of the book, however, is Littlefield’s willingness to throw his former boss Don Ohlmeyer under the bus. Ohlmeyer, who apparently understood very little about TV, arrived at NBC after Littlefield had been there for years and assumed a position above him in the corporate hierarchy. While his struggles with addiction and subsequent stint in rehab are a matter of public record, many of the interviews here shed light on the significance of the daily frustrations of Ohlmeyer’s battle with alcoholism. Interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Lisa Kudrow, among others, are particularly interesting because they worked with NBC both in front of and behind the camera. None of the interviewees shy away from negative topics, including the letdowns of test-screening results and executives not realizing which shows would later become hits.
With an entertaining insider’s perspective, Littlefield transports readers back to a seemingly magical time when half the country would watch the same show.