Warren Littlefield ’74 recently appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” to talk about his time as the former president of NBC-TV and promote his new book, “Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV.” He also gave a shout-out to HWS.
“I graduated with a degree in psychology from Hobart and William Smith. It’s a good, small liberal arts school,” says Littlefield. “I didn’t graduate knowing that I wanted to run a network. I started working at a production company, where I learned the business before wondering what was behind it all. When they told me there was nothing, I responded that they needed ideas, development dollars and scripts. They agreed and I realized I had to create some stuff or I’d be out of work.”
A couple years later, after moving his way up, he was asked to be president of the company, Littlefield thought he needed more experience so he headed west to California. He was first hired in the comedy development department at Warner Bros. Studios, and later to fulfill the same position at NBC-TV.
“In order to become a network president, you start by watching every single thing that’s on – network and cable,” says Littlefield. “You need to be able to talk about the material. When I was younger, I used to fake that I was sick and watch television because I loved it.”
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 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 casting Will Smith in “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” During those years, NBC enjoyed 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 executive produce television shows for the Network Television Division of Paramount.
Listen to Littlefield’s entire appearance on The Howard Stern Show.