Felix Gillette and John Koblin Present It's Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO, in conversation with Choire Sicha

 
Thursday
November 3rd
7pm

 
McNally Jackson Williamsburg
Sold Out
 
The riveting inside story of HBO, the start-up company that reinvented television—by two veteran media reporters
 
HBO changed how stories could be told on TV. The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, Game of Thrones. The network’s meteoric rise heralded the second golden age of television with serialized shows that examined and reflected American anxieties, fears, and secret passions through complicated characters who were flawed and often unlikable. HBO’s own behind-the-scenes story is as complex, compelling, and innovative as the dramas the network created, driven by unorthodox executives who pushed the boundaries of what viewers understood as television at the turn of the century. Originally conceived by a small upstart group of entrepreneurs to bring Hollywood movies into living rooms across America, the scrappy network grew into one of the most influential and respected players in Hollywood. It’s Not TV is the deeply reported, definitive story of one of America’s most daring and popular cultural institutions, laying bare HBO’s growth, dominance, and vulnerability within the capricious media landscape over the past fifty years.

Through the visionary executives, showrunners, and producers who shaped HBO, seasoned journalists Gillette and Koblin bring to life a dynamic cast of characters who drove the company’s creative innovation in astonishing ways—outmaneuvering copycat competitors, taming Hollywood studios, transforming 1980s comedians and athletes like Chris Rock and Mike Tyson into superstars, and in the late 1990s and 2000s elevating the commercial-free, serialized drama to a revered art form. But in the midst of all its success, HBO was also defined by misbehaving executives, internal power struggles, and a few crucial miscalculations.

As data-driven models like Netflix have taken over streaming, HBO’s artful, instinctual, and humanistic approach to storytelling is in jeopardy. Taking readers into the boardrooms and behind the camera, It’s Not TV tells the surprising, fascinating story of HBO’s ascent, its groundbreaking influence on American business, technology, and popular culture, and its increasingly precarious position in the very market it created.

 

 

 

We recommend that guests wear masks on the night. 


Felix Gillette is the enterprise editor for Bloomberg News’s media, entertainment, and telecom team, as well as a features writer for Bloomberg Businessweek. He has covered the business of media and technology for over a dozen years and has worked as a staff writer at the Washington City Paper, the Columbia Journalism Review, The Village Voice, and The New York Observer.
 

 

 

 

John Koblin is a media reporter for The New York Times, covering the television industry. He reports on the companies and personalities behind the scripted-TV boom as well as the networks that broadcast the news. Prior to joining the Times, he covered media at The New York Observer, Women’s Wear Daily, and Deadspin.

 

 

Choire Sicha is an editor at New York magazine.

 

 

 

 

 


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