Now 84, Goldenson is retired from active management of the ABC-TV network, sold to Capital Cities in 1985. When he took over the network in 1951, it had newly merged with Paramount and was considered all but an industry joke, a distant fourth in a field of four. But thanks to Goldenson's willingness to experiment, to his light hand on the rudder, and to his ability to spot talent, he made ABC more than competitive, leading it to the top for several years. This story of the battle to rise, told with freelancer Wolf, is supplemented by dozens of recollections from others who were involved: Bob Hope, Roone Arledge, Barbara Walters. Most striking is Goldenson's candor; although a stickler for quality, he doesn't pretend that out-and-out excellence is the mission of TV. ``Motion pictures and television,'' he opines, ``are a hokum business,'' and estimates that 40% of television programming is pure junk. The book is important reading for students of media history. (Feb.)
In some ways this anecdotal autobiography by ABC mogul Goldenson is disappointing. (He is now chair of the executive committee of ABC and director of Capital Cities/ABC). The editorial device of interrupting the narrative flow with what are called ``Other Recollections'' by Goldenson associates tends to make reading, and, often, comprehension, difficult. Nevertheless, the persistent reader is rewarded with accounts of dozens of dramatic incidents, as ABC wages a quarter-century battle to gain parity with its giant TV network rivals, CBS and NBC. One learns of the decision making inherent in such trend-setting programming as Roots, Monday Night Football, Soap, and The Fugitive , and of the moves made to bring ABC News to its current pinnacle. In the end, Goldenson, still the corporate gambler at age 80, fends off the Wall Street ``sharks'' by placing his company under the protective umbrella of Capital Cities. Recommended for libraries with large entertainment collections.-- Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Further subtitled The stars, struggles, and egos that transformed network television by the man who made it happen. Media mogul Goldenson, who took over ABC 37 years ago, tells the story of his life and his life's work, which includes in addition to the development of ABC, the cofounding of the charitable organization United Cerebral Palsy. He's assisted by author and journalist Marvin J. Wolf. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)