When television networks had distinctive personalities — something that hasn’t been true for at least a decade now — CBS was a classy dame, NBC was the network in the Brooks Brothers suit, and ABC was a raffish character, the likable underdog. Leonard Goldenson, chairman of the American Broadcasting Co. for 32 years, exhibits a personality similar to his network’s in Beating the Odds, his corporate memoir. Goldenson’s story is the tale of a third-place network that became a contender by pursuing two divergent strategies: beefing up its news coverage and dumbing down its entertainment programming. For every Nightline, there was a Love Boat footing the bill. Although Beating the Odds carries the exhausting subtitle ”The Untold Story Behind the Rise of ABC: The Stars, Struggles and Egos That Transformed Network Television,” Goldenson is debilitatingly discreet. Here’s an entire anecdote: ”[Sammy Davis, Jr.] was probably the most gifted performer of his era, he could sing, dance, play instruments, do standup comedy — everything. And he was eager to go into television. We built a pilot around Sammy’s family [in the ’50s]…. But no advertiser dared to back a ‘colored’ star at the time. We couldn’t sell it, so ‘The Sammy Davis, Jr., Show’ never went on the air.” Not very illuminating, is it? But it is typical, and that’s too bad, because Goldenson seems to have been a smart, enthusiastic executive who really loved the idea of TV and its possibilities. Beating the Odds could have used more of his gambler’s instincts.
Beating the Odds When television networks had distinctive personalities — something that hasn't been true for at least a decade now — CBS was a classy dame,...Beating the OddsMemoir, TelevisionLeonard H. Goldenson, Marvin J. Wolf When television networks had distinctive personalities — something that hasn't been true for at least a decade now — CBS was a classy dame,...1991-03-15
Genre: Memoir, Television; Author: Leonard H. Goldenson, Marvin J. Wolf
Posted March 15 1991 — 12:00 AM EST
- Austin Mahone shares details of 'more mature' debut record
- Sofia Vergara channels Peg Bundy in Instagram post
- Jimmy Kimmel asks L.A. pedestrians if Barack Obama is a muslim
- Hear the melancholic title track off Patty Griffin's new album 'Servant of Love'
- 'RuPaul's Drag Race' queens step into 'Golden Girls' shoes in honor of 30th anniversary
- Amanda Peet says Jon Snow's death ended her marriage (she's kidding)
- Meghan Trainor posts update on vocal surgery recovery
- All the VMAs 2015 performances graded
- VMAs 2015 Red Carpet: See All the Looks!
- 16 TV characters who stuck around longer than expected
- Behind Lady Gaga's killer look in 'American Horror Story: Hotel'
- 'American Horror Story: Hotel' First Look: 11 EW exclusive photos
- Alessandra Ambrósio, The Kardashians, Malin Akerman & More!