Cover image for Me and Ted against the world : the unauthorized story of the founding of CNN
Me and Ted against the world : the unauthorized story of the founding of CNN
Schonfeld, Reese.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Cliff Street, [2001]

Physical Description:
xx, 407 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4784.E53 S36 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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They were the odd couple of broadcast news, destined to alter global communications forever -- to free-for-all of a saga that's larger than life and more engaging than a major business book has any right to be. 1979. Down in Atlanta, Ted Turner was fighting his battles with the networks. Up in New York, Reese Schonfeld was warring with the network journalists. Then they joined forces in a magnificent experiment and, for the next three years, stood shoulder to shoulder and back to back -- until the allies became antagonists, and the unraveling of CNN began.Turner was cable before cable was cool. Schonfeld was in the TV news business before there was a TV news business was tile best advertising salesman TV has ever known. Schonfeld had invented the first independent news agency that worked. Turner got cable companies to put CNN -- thefirst twenty-four-hour news network -- on the air. Schonfeld got newsmen to bet their lives on CNN. Turner brought in the money. Schonfeld brought in the news. Turner had been thrown out of Brown, Schonfeld, out of Harvard Law. Neither could tolerate authority. Both were control freaks. CNN was their baby. 1982. With CNN's ratings at an all-time high. Turner fired Schonfeld and gained control of CNN. Now it was totally his baby. Schonfeld went oil to, create News 12 and the Food Network. Ted went on to create TNT, the Cartoon Network, and Turner Movie Classics: become a legend; and sell his empire to Time Warner. 2000. Now Ted looks at news from the outside. Schonfeld plays one more long shot, trying to get back in. CNN is Time Warner's now. In the beginning, it was me and Ted against the world, but has the world finally won? Me and Ted Against the World recounts tile no-holds-barred triumphs of CNN's beginnings, the tribulations of its middle age, and the tragedy of its current moment in the wake of Time Warner's projected sale to AOL. As broadly entertaining as it is enlightening about the brave universe of telecommunications and crammed with unforgettable characters and highly revealing anecdotes, Me and Ted Against the World is eye-opening in every sense of the word.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"CNN is my invention," proclaims Schonfeld at the outset of this entertaining, vindictive memoir of founding the world's first 24-hour news network with media mogul Ted Turner in 1979. A longtime TV and print journalist, Schonfeld was president for three years until he was fired by Turner after a clash of egos and largely forgotten within CNN's institutional memory. This book is his opportunity to set the record straight, tell some great anecdotes and (not least) settle a few old scores. Schonfeld maintains that as it hit the airwaves on June 1, 1980, CNN was largely his creation: he devised its revolutionary "fluid news" style and assembled the initial staff (largely by raiding other networks: "Will the last one leaving for CNN turn out the lights?" became the mantra at CBS). With only a shoestring budget, Schonfeld used creative methods to scoop the competitionÄfor example, smuggling tape out of Solidarity-era Poland wrapped around a cameraman's legs. He also managed to get lucky with talented unknowns like Katie Couric, Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw (although Schonfeld also went after big guns like Orson Welles, whom he wanted as cohost for Crossfire). Best of all, Schonfeld says, Turner made appearances mostly just to raise hell and stir up the troops. CNN was going strong right up to the moment when Turner fired him; afterwards, Schonfeld maintains, it lost the brash, upstart approach that ensured its early ratings, and it turned into just another network. Sour grapes? Perhaps. One side of the story? Without a doubt. But it's wrapped in a fantastic package and loaded with humor, insight and dish on everyone from Turner down. (Feb. 6) Forecast: Bound to be one of the most controversial, and talked-about, media books of the year, Schonfeld's bold tell-all should attract major media on his three-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prologue: Panicsvillep. xiii
Round 1 Bear Witnessp. 1
Round 2 Who Is Ted?p. 7
Round 3 Ted Was Cable Before Cable Was Coolp. 12
Round 4 Whose Idea Was It?p. 13
Round 5 Who Is Me?p. 18
Round 6 Movietonep. 23
Round 7 UPITN: Failure After Failurep. 32
Round 8 Coors Lite Newsp. 38
Round 9 I Get It Rightp. 41
Round 10 "The Two Most Powerful Men in the World"p. 52
Round 11 Last One to Leave, Please Turn Out the Lightsp. 56
Round 12 Dial-a-Prayerp. 58
Round 13 Getting the Newsp. 61
Round 14 Getting the Peoplep. 70
Round 15 Piece by Piecep. 74
Round 16 Grab 'Em by the Eyeballsp. 77
Round 17 "Never Tell Me Anything You Don't Want the Whole World to Know"p. 81
Round 18 Living in a Fish Bowlp. 86
Round 19 Grab 'Em by the Throatp. 91
Round 20 The Greed Factorp. 97
Round 21 Washingtonp. 103
Round 22 The Sporting Lifep. 111
Round 23 "For Every Drop of Blood I Shed, You Will Shed a Barrel"p. 114
Round 24 The Ten O'Clock Folliesp. 118
Round 25 Ted Panicsp. 124
Round 26 Finding Homesp. 129
Round 27 CNN Collegep. 135
Round 28 College Lifep. 139
Round 29 L.A.p. 141
Round 30 Ted and Louise: Romep. 147
Round 31 Rehearsalsp. 151
Round 32 Opening Dayp. 155
Round 33 A VJ's Storyp. 161
Round 34 You Boettcher Lifep. 165
Round 35 Carper's Hurrahp. 166
Round 36 Conventionsp. 170
Round 37 Conventions, Twop. 173
Round 38 Horatio at the Bridgep. 178
Round 39 Road to Damascusp. 182
Round 40 Piracy on the Caribbean Seap. 186
Round 41 The Ayatollah Holds an Auctionp. 187
Round 42 Sandi Freemanp. 191
Round 43 MGM, Grand for CNNp. 195
Round 44 The Great Debatep. 197
Round 45 San Franciscop. 200
Round 46 Reagan Wins, CNN Losesp. 206
Round 47 Reagan Wins, CNN Winsp. 209
Round 48 Katie Couricp. 212
Round 49 Strawberry Fieldsp. 215
Round 50 We Never Killed Jim Bradyp. 216
Round 51 Everybody into the Poolp. 220
Round 52 The Ass Backwards Companyp. 225
Round 53 The Pope Gets Shotp. 229
Round 54 The War That Doesn't Happenp. 231
Round 55 Kathleen Sullivanp. 232
Round 56 "He's a Dictator, Just Like Me"p. 236
Round 57 God and Tedp. 239
Round 58 Sadatp. 242
Round 59 Forebodingsp. 244
Round 60 Headline Newsp. 247
Round 61 Stockman Goes to the Woodshedp. 250
Round 62 The Tokyo Bluesp. 252
Round 63 The Hoower in the Skyp. 256
Round 64 Air Florida: Favor for Favorp. 261
Round 65 "I'll Mortgage the House"p. 263
Round 66 "If They're Stealing It, Why Don't We Sell It to Them?"p. 266
Round 67 El Salvadorp. 269
Round 68 Falklands: Oh, What a Glorious Warp. 274
Round 69 Labor Painsp. 278
Round 70 Friendsp. 280
Round 71 Caught in the Crossfirep. 285
Round 72 Ted Fires Mep. 289
Round 73 Scorecardp. 292
Round 74 Burt's CNNp. 298
Round 75 You Don't Know What You're Talking Aboutp. 305
Round 76 Bevins Dies Twice, but Only Once for Turnerp. 312
Round 77 News 12: The Virtues of Virginityp. 315
Round 78 Ted Wants to Own a Networkp. 320
Round 79 "I Should Have Killed Him"p. 323
Round 80 Ted Loses Controlp. 326
Round 81 Gloryp. 328
Round 82 Food, Food, Glorious Foodp. 331
Round 83 A Smart Jewish Guyp. 339
Round 84 I Can't Go Home Againp. 342
Round 85 The Times, They Ain't A-Changin'p. 347
Round 86 CNN, It Ain't A-Succeeding! Why?p. 353
Round 87 Opportunity Lostp. 355
Round 88 Is Ted Going Wacko?p. 357
Round 89 It's Their Party, but I Can Cry If I Want Top. 362
Round 90 The Saviorp. 367
Round 91 Is It Good for the News?p. 372
Round 92 Can This Network Be Saved?p. 377
Round 93 Couragep. 381
Codap. 384
Indexp. 391