I’m super excited to be launching my first book, Television: Innovation, Disruption and the World’s Most Powerful Medium this coming Saturday, March 12 at SXSW, at 5PM in Austin Convention Center Room 10AB.
Every day brings another article on the disruption of television; how the stodgy idiot box is finally being forced to evolve by Netflix and Amazon. That sounds nice, but it’s inaccurate. The truth is that TV has been disrupted non-stop from the beginning. Lucy and Desi disrupted CBS by giving birth to syndication. John Malone and cable disrupted everyone. When CNN aired on-the-ground footage of Iraq, Ted Turner disrupted the news business. ESPN disrupted Monday Night Football and broadcast sports. Fox disrupted the oligopoly of the Big 3. HBO eroded the TV commercial, then DVR, VOD and Netflix punched it in the throat. YouTube has disrupted cable by putting up shows that you otherwise have to pay for, for free.
Why all the contortions? Because TV matters, and there’s been an epic series of dogfights to control it since it began.
I started writing Television as a single volume, but there was so much to cover, it became clear it needed to be a series.
Volume 1 of Television begins in 1900, when the idea of “remote seeing” is still a far-flung dream proposed by geniuses and charlatans. The book chronicles how forward-thinking entrepreneurs and artists harnessed technology to create television, which exploded into the world’s most powerful medium. We follow the half-century blood feud between CBS, NBC and ABC, and learn from innovators who pushed the artistic and economic boundaries of the medium including Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Rod Serling, Jack Kennedy, Johnny Carson, Norman Lear, Fred Silverman and Mary Tyler Moore.
I’ll be reading three excerpts on the book at SXSW – stories that show just how much the early days of television resemble the era we find ourselves in now.
As a thank you for coming out, everyone who comes to the signing line will receive the e-book version of TELEVISION – for free!
Hope to see you there!