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The House That Roone Built: The Inside Story of ABC News

By Marc Gunther
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Book Details
  • Author: Marc Gunther
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1994-03-01
  • Edition: 1
Twenty years ago, ABC News was the laughingstock of broadcast journalism, trailing in the network ratings at a distant third. ABC lacked the reputation, the resources, and most important, the star power of its competitors on Broadcast Row. Roone Arledge, president of ABC News since 1977, changed all that. With acuity and determination, Arledge turned ABC News into a world-class news organization. Now a powerful empire, ABC News is number one in the ratings. Their slogan just happens to be true: more Americans get their news from ABC than from any other source. That makes Arledge the most powerful media executive in the country. The House That Roone Built tells for the first time the dramatic story of this meteoric rise, and reveals, in all his complexity, the brilliant media pioneer who not only had his finger on the pulse of public demand but created the pulse itself. It provides the view behind the camera of how Roone remade a news organization, creating bold new ways of presenting the news - with programs like "Nightline", "20/20", "This Week with David Brinkley", and "PrimeTime Live" - and assembling a galaxy of stars that is now unrivaled in the industry. Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Sam Donaldson, Geraldo Rivera, Hugh Downs - learn how Arledge played them like pieces in a chess game, shrewdly mollifying insecurities, indulging vanities, and surmounting rivalries and clashes of power. Packed with fascinating anecdotes and revealing psychological profiles of those whose appearances we know so well, The House That Roone Built also explores controversial issues in television news - the dangers of the star system, the unending ratings pressures, and theimpact of cost-conscious corporate owners. It is a probing account of the creation of a media powerhouse, and a compelling look at how television journalism has evolved in recent times, how its role has changed from "serving the public" to "playing the crowd", and how television, no longer just the documenter of history, has become its very maker.