Desperate Networks reads like someone took all the notes and articles Bill Carter wrote about the media while at the New York Times and lined them up in chronological order. It’s almost boring, but I still enjoyed it. It felt like being a fly on the wall during some exciting times, but that excitement is all about the business of television, which is not objectively exciting. I’m sure it speaks to my “business fandom” of media moguls and the business of culture.
A lot of the backstories on the negotiations for the big hits and flops and the fight for ratings by the four major networks in the early 2000s, it feels more like a history book because so much has changed. No one is talking about network shows with streaming channels ruling everything and the book makes no mention of the “peak tv” era where all anyone cared about was on cable. It really highlighted the randomness and luck of discovering a good show.