Thursday, May 24, 2012

Top of the Rock

I've had trouble focusing lately with my allergies and while I've still been reading, it's mainly been young adult or lighter books that aren't really worth reviewing. They were good. They kept me turning pages. I have nothing else to say. I'm feeling better though and hope to get some better quality reading done over the holiday weekend. I want to clear out some of my library books and half-finished books before turning my attention to the Victorians for a while!

While I was in my weird reading mood, I picked up a book called Top of the Rock by Warren Littlefield at the library. He was the president of NBC television during the 90s and worked their during the 80s as well. After creating Must See TV, he was fired. And now we have nothing but reality TV. The book focuses on NBC shows of the late 80s and 90s and how they built a powerhouse station. I watched so many of the shows he focuses on, and it was interesting to learn the same people were involved in the development of many of them. They had Cheers, Seinfeld, Mad About You, ER, Frasier, the Cosby Show, and of course, Friends. Getting the behind the scene stories about the creative process and business side of developing these shows was fun. He doesn't focus on the actors and gossip, although he shares a few things when they're relevant.

The book definitely made me nostalgic for the days when TV actually had sitcoms and shows everyone watched. It gave us something to talk about and a way to connect. Now we have an army of crappy reality shows and special interest shows (which I like, but don't give that same feeling of connection or usually, laughter). There's not a lot of funny on TV these days. It made me want to re-watch Cheers, especially since I was so young (i.e. I didn't know there was someone other than Kirstie Alley as the main female until a few years ago) during it that I know I missed a lot of what made it funny. I'm thankful for Netflix and their streaming TV shows so do have options when the current lineup sucks.

The other fun yet depressing thing about the book was the info on how many of these shows didn't test that well or didn't do well their first season. Despite that, they were given a chance and not only had a full first season, they got a chance at a second season! I had heard about that happening with Seinfeld, but it happened with some of the others as well. And some of them started out differently in the initial writing and changed based on the actors or other things, and it was weird to think about what might have happened and how close the shows came not to being what they were. Today, shows are pulled after just a few episodes and aren't given a chance to gain traction. How many of those shows could have been the next Friends but ended up gone after three shows?

However, I understand why it's that way today. Viewership is splintered with so many cable, on demand, and online options. A show that did badly in the ratings back in the day still had enough viewers to carry it on for a little while longer. TV advertising was more effective, but now there are so many better options for most advertisers. But at the same time, it just made me miss the shows of my childhood, when Thursday night was spent watching Must See TV and Fridays watching the TGIF block. Although there is one benefit - I watch a lot less TV overall than I used to!

1 comment:

  1. Hello there
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