As veteran media reporters Felix Gillette and John Koblin explain in their new book, It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO, HBO was born from journalism, a byproduct of Time Inc.’s plan to diversify its holdings. Their gossipy, cameo-padded reporting breezes through the improbable story of how a print media company invested in a scheme to bring a clearer television picture to certain neighborhoods, embraced satellites and discovered that original programming was a cheaper way to fill its slate than paying Hollywood studios.
“Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes,” by Ira Rosen (St. Martin’s Press) Long-time multi-award winning producer Ira Rosen has written a sometimes sad, often funny, always revealing portrait of American television’s most famous and successful news show, “60 Minutes.” Rosen certainly had reporting time for this book – he was a producer at […]
According to NPR’s Fresh Air TV critic and media historian David Bianculli, we are living in television’s Platinum Age, so pop the champagne. His new book, The Platinum Age of Television, explains how the “cool medium” morphed from a piece of hearthside furniture into a ubiquitous handheld device. The decisive DNA in this evolution is programming, and Bianculli’s main thrust is to map television’s rise from fixed network scheduling to on-demand selection — a survival of the fittest that, with today’s gazillion channels, offers something for everyone.
In the long, exhausting march to equality, the trope about successful women is that they’re not only as qualified as their male counterparts, but better: more talented, more collegial and basically nicer human beings. That is patently untrue in The News Sorority, Sheila Weller’s dishy, bitchy biography of Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour. The three newswomen are portrayed as exceptional primarily for their ambition, entitlement and ability to manipulate network executives. Forget those feel-good inspirational platitudes: This book reads like the love child of Machiavelli’s The Prince and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.
“Johnny Carson” (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), by Henry Bushkin Hell hath no fury like a lawyer scorned. “You must never, ever repeat a word from last night,” Johnny Carson told Henry Bushkin after sobering up from a barstool confessional. Bushkin gave a lawyerly assurance to “The Tonight Show” host, saying in part, “I would lose […]