Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire

Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire

by Ken Auletta
     
 

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"Auletta puts the most human of faces on Turner yet . . . [as] a tycoon who has lost his power." —BusinessWeek
Ted Turner revolutionized television. Foreseeing cable's potential in its infancy, he parlayed a tiny UHF station in Atlanta into a national superstation, invented CNN, and transformed sports teams and the MGM film library into lucrative

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Overview

"Auletta puts the most human of faces on Turner yet . . . [as] a tycoon who has lost his power." —BusinessWeek
Ted Turner revolutionized television. Foreseeing cable's potential in its infancy, he parlayed a tiny UHF station in Atlanta into a national superstation, invented CNN, and transformed sports teams and the MGM film library into lucrative programming. Ken Auletta, the most respected media journalist in America, enjoyed unparalleled access to the outspoken and defiant Turner in writing this book (named one of BusinessWeek's Top Ten Books of 2004), capturing the visionary businessman as he built—and lost—his improbable empire.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
“A nuanced and engaging portrait of an immensely complicated man. . . . The book hits its highest notes in depicting how a mercurial cable mogul revolutionized the news industry—and then watched as the manic boom-and-bust cycle of the 1990s swallowed up and regurgitated his prize innovation. . . . Readers may find more detailed analyses of the merger of AOL and Time Warner, but they will find none more entertaining, straightforward, or comprehensible.”
Publishers Weekly
Auletta wrote an excellent New Yorker profile of media mogul Turner in 2001, but this expanded look at the complex figure lacks depth. Auletta describes how Turner, an "obstreperous" Southerner, changed television by turning a tiny Atlanta UHF station into a national cable powerhouse. He covers Turner's other professional moves, such as the launch of CNN and the sale of his company to Time Warner, and addresses darker moments, too, illuminating Turner's difficult childhood under a domineering father, and, later, his divorce from Jane Fonda. To write this retrospective, Auletta conducted nearly 20 hours of taped interviews with the executive. Unfortunately, it seems the author didn't use much of that transcription. Although he touches on Turner's major life events and business decisions, Auletta provides what feels like an executive summary of a much larger, more satisfying book. In describing Turner's education at Brown University, he gives scant detail about quirks and high points, then notes, "He was a first-class jerk." Sections on Turner's business acumen the real meat of his life receive the same glossed-over treatment. Turner's tale doesn't unfold naturally, but rather, progresses like a PowerPoint presentation. The biography is loaded with detail, but very little personality unfortunate, given its fascinating subject. 6 photos. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Sept.) Forecast: A PBS documentary on Turner airing in October could bump sales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Celebrated media journalist Auletta takes on celebrated media giant Turner. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393327496
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/17/2005
Series:
Enterprise Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
804,901
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Ken Auletta writes the "Annals of Communications" for The New Yorker and is the author of nine previous books, including Greed and Glory on Wall Street, Three Blind Mice, The Highwaymen, World War 3.0, and Backstory. He lives in New York City.

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