Warren Littlefield ’74 recently appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” to discuss his new book, “Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV” with Emmy award-winning actress Debra Messing.
“The era of Must See TV was a pretty great ride for everyone,” says Littlefield in an interview with “Today” host Carl Quintanilla. “We had the good fortune to discover Debra Messing, so when I later went back and asked her to talk about what we went through, somehow she was willing to relive that. It was a phenomenal period of discovery for so much talent. To go back and reexamine that in ‘Top of the Rock’- everyone was up for it.”
In his book, Littlefield, who served as the NBC President of Entertainment and was credited with being the architect of NBC’s winning Thursday lineup penned “Must-See TV,” recounts the network’s rise to the greatest prime-time line-up in television history, which included such favorites as “Seinfeld,” “Cheers,” “Friends,” “Frasier,” “ER” and many others. The book includes interviews from 55 “Must-See TV” stars, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Kelsey Grammer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Julianna Marguiles, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie, Debra Messing, Jack Welch, Jimmy Burrows, Helen Hunt and Dick Wolf.
Under his watch as president, NBC won an amazing 168 Emmy awards and numerous other industry honors. Littlefield joined NBC as manager of comedy development in December 1979. At that time, NBC had no comedies ranked among Nielsen’s top 25 shows. Less than two years later, he was promoted to vice president of current comedy programs. As the captain of the network’s comedy department, he helped develop award-winning series such as “Cheers,””Family Ties,””The Cosby Show,””The Golden Girls,” and cast Will Smith in “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” During those years, NBC climbed out of the Nielsen ratings basement and went on to enjoy a history-making, six-year ride as the top-rated network.
The Littlefield Company represents the newest chapter in Littlefield’s television career. In 2001 he signed a multi-year deal to develop and produce television shows for the Network Television Division of Paramount.
A native of Montclair, N.J., Littlefield began his career at Westfall Productions in New York City, where he developed and produced prime-time specials and movies. At age 26, he produced “The Last Giraffe,” a made-for-television movie that was shot exclusively on location in Kenya.
He attended the School of Government and Public Administration at American University in Washington, D.C., before earning a degree in psychology at Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. Littlefield has remained a dedicated alumnus since graduating from Hobart, returning to offer a Druid Society lecture, and providing current students with insight into the media industry through his participation in the Salisbury Center for Career Service and Professional Development L.A. Experience over the past several years.
Littlefield is currently on the board of directors of Dynamic Digital Depth and serves on the boards of the L.A. Free Clinic, Heal the Bay, the Environmental Media Association, the National Coalition of Christians and Jews, and the UCLA School of Film, Theater and Television.
To read an excerpt of the book, visit
See the full interview on “The Today Show.”