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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 TedAgainst 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.
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