Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers (Hardcover)

Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers Cover Image

Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers (Hardcover)


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Tinderbox tells the exclusive, explosive, uninhibited true story of HBO and how it burst onto the American scene and screen to detonate a revolution and transform our relationship with television forever.

The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, The Wire, Succession…HBO has long been the home of epic shows, as well as the source for brilliant new movies, news-making documentaries, and controversial sports journalism. By thinking big, trashing tired formulas, and killing off cliches long past their primes, HBO shook off the shackles of convention and led the way to a bolder world of content, opening the door to all that was new, original, and worthy of our attention.

In Tinderbox, award-winning journalist James Andrew Miller uncovers a bottomless trove of secrets and surprises, revealing new conflicts, insights, and analysis. As he did to great acclaim with SNL in Live from New York; with ESPN in Those Guys Have All the Fun; and with talent agency CAA in Powerhouse, Miller continues his record of extraordinary access to the most important voices, this time speaking with talents ranging from Abrams (J. J.) to Zendaya, as well as every single living president of HBO—and hundreds of other major players.

Over the course of more than 750 interviews with key sources, Miller reveals how fraught HBO’s journey has been, capturing the drama and the comedy off-camera and inside boardrooms as HBO created and mobilized a daring new content universe, and, in doing so, reshaped storytelling and upended our entertainment lives forever.

James Andrew Miller is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN; Live from New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live; Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency; and Running in Place: Inside the Senate. He received his BA from Occidental College, his MLitt from Oxford University, and an MBA from Harvard University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250624017
ISBN-10: 1250624010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: November 23rd, 2021
Pages: 1024
Language: English

“A retrospective of HBO’s nearly half-century of multiplex programming portrayed through the words of a cavalcade of celebrities, developers, and innovators.

Using material from more than 750 interviews with a host of insiders, noted journalist Miller presents an exhaustive account of the network’s pioneering projects. In a well-rendered, frequently surprising chronicle, the author covers seemingly every inch of ground: HBO’s ‘treacherous birth’ in 1972, early ups and downs, the use of satellite technology, and the development of groundbreaking movies, award-winning documentaries, uncensored comedy, and unique sports programming, which elevated televised boxing matches to new heights. Miller spotlights many of HBO’s success stories through first-person commentary and ventures deep into how these history-making shows were developed, produced, and became hits. The histories of classics like The Larry Sanders Show; the ‘stunning trifecta’ of Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and Curb Your Enthusiasm; Game of Thrones; and even the decadeslong run of the voyeuristic Taxicab Confessions are fascinating to read, all recounted via the memories of those who were there. Many of Miller’s interviewees viscerally describe the stress, struggle, joys, and pains of being on a consistently successful hit show where ‘cast, crew, and network executives get tossed together in a pressure cooker for years on end, and it’s rare that some don’t suffer accordingly.’ This was especially true for the Sopranos team and its star, James Gandolfini, who struggled with addiction and, once he became an irreplaceable commodity to the network, leveraged his power to his ultimate advantage. Though the text is more than 1,000 pages, its length is justified by the sheer amount of insightful commentary, juicy insider opinions, and celebrity and executive melodrama. Collectively, the chorus of voices creates an informative and compelling indulgence about how a particular culture of entertainment is formed and fostered. In that sense, the book recalls Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, which Miller co-authored with Tom Shales.

A consummate, highly revealing, expertly assembled study of how HBO indelibly changed TV.”

Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*