|About the Book|
In 1961 television news was in relative infancy in the United States. Network news broadcasts ran just 15 minutes, hardly enough time to communicate the news of the day. Local news broadcasts likewise ran 15 minutes, five minutes for news, fiveMoreIn 1961 television news was in relative infancy in the United States. Network news broadcasts ran just 15 minutes, hardly enough time to communicate the news of the day. Local news broadcasts likewise ran 15 minutes, five minutes for news, five minutes for weather and five minutes for sports.But in October of 1961 a brilliant television pioneernamed Sam Zelman decided to change the TV news landscape by introducing The Big News, an hour long broadcast featuring 45 minutes of local news and the 15 minute network broadcast with Douglas Edwards. The newspaper critics scoffed, it couldnt be done. But Sam proved them wrong. He introduced a former TV pitchman from Chicago, Jerry Dunphy, as his anchorman, and almost immediately a news legend was born.His other hires were Ralph Story, truly one of TVs greatest storytellers, weatherman Bill Keene and sports director Gil Stratton, a baseball umpire andpart-time actor. It was one of the great success stories in the history of TV news with ratings that dominated the marketplace for a dozen years. One of Sam Zelmans other hires was Pete Noyes, a virtual unknown who had worked in the trenches of Los Angeles journalism for a local wire service and had built a reputation for investigative reporting. One of Petes first stories in 1961 was that Los Angeles Dodger President Walter OMalleyhad built his new stadium in Chavez Ravine with only one drinking fountain, the better to sell lots of beer to thirsty fans.In 1963 the Big News expanded to an hour and the CBS Evening News, featuring a new anchorman named Walter Cronkite went from 15 to 30 minutes.It was then Pete Noyes was named producer of the Big News. His exploits were legendary. He exposed the Mafias plan to steal $14 million in Teamsters money earmarked for a luxury home development near Beverly Hills.He won the Edward L. Murrow award for investigative reporting when he revealed thatCharles Manson and his so-called family were responsible for the horrific Tate-LaBianca murders.Pete fought the Bank of America to a standstill when its officers tried to kill his documentary, The Anonymous Howard Hughes.And one of TVs most acclaimed programs, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, had its roots in the Big News where the role of managing editor Lou Grant was based on Petes daily grind.Pete describes the factors that led to the death of The Big News, the TV consultants with their zany ideas, the inexperienced news directors andthe bosses at CBS who looked the other way while the walls came crashing down around them.