Cover Image: From Saturday Night to Sunday Night

From Saturday Night to Sunday Night

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Member Reviews

This is a very interesting read!  Or, at least, it was for me, who finds the machinations of the entertainment industry fascinating and happens to love both SNL and SNF.   The tone is very easy and conversational, so it sounds like a friend shooting the breeze over a couple of drinks on the back deck.    The tragedy of his son's death (and his own near-death) was related sensitively and movingly.   

Mr. Ebersol seems like an all-right guy who certainly accomplished a lot and had some great ideas, but it's hard to read this and not be floored by the sheer amount of white male privilege he benefited from.   So many opportunities came his way from mentoring from other white men, from being accepted and included into the old boy's club, etc. that it winds up being kind of depressing.  How many women and POC who were at least as capable as he was did he leapfrog?   Has he ever done anything to address this or mentor people who may not have had the doors opened that he has?   In some ways, this is at least as valuable as a conversation-starter on this topic as it is as a memoir of a television producer.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
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This was such an interesting and informative read, especially for someone who enjoys the inner-workings of television.

Throughout the book Dick Ebersol chronicles how he got his start in television, through stories of his childhood and his love of sports to working as an Olympic researcher. He takes you on a journey through his life in television, giving an in-depth account of what it takes to get the job done.

There is a chunk focusing on how Saturday Night Live came about, and those first five seasons are absolutely iconic. It's interesting to hear how it cam about and why. The need for something to fill a late night time-slot turned into a show that has been on for nearly 50 years.

As with a lot of memoirs like this, there is some self-congratulatory parts, but overall this was such an interesting read. Besides SNL, I've always loved watching the Olympics and it was so fascinating to learn about the intricacies of how the broadcasts come together. He specifically mentions the 2000 Sydney games and how difficult the time difference was to try to figure out the best way to broadcast. It's so much more complicated than we realize watching at home.

I would definitely recommend this if you're a fan of the Olympics or even football, to see how everything comes together behind this scenes. There were also some really heart-wrenching moments that I was prepared for given how the memoir was being told with the focus on television and his career. I'm really glad I took a chance on this.
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From Saturday Night to Sunday Night (Amazon) is a fascinating, if somewhat shallow look at the history of live television events from one man’s remarkable perspective. Dick Ebersol is a name I know well since I worked in the television business for years, but I truly didn’t know the large footprint he made in television until reading this book. Ebersol has had a front seat to coverage of some of the most memorable moments on TV from 1968 to 2012.

While still in college, Ebersol was hired as the first Olympic researcher for the 1968 Olympics which were on ABC. Through that association, he became a production assistant for the sports department. He was lured away to head up NBC’s late-night entertainment line-up. It was Ebersol who spearheaded what was to become Saturday Night Live. Leaving after the first season to run his own independent production company, he returned in 1981 to take over when Lorne Michaels briefly left. Ebersol was at the helm when Eddie Murphy took the world by storm on SNL. He was also responsible for bringing the WWF to television.

Ebersol also delves into his personal life, although not too closely. There’s no mention of his first marriage, only his second and current marriage to the Kate & Allie and MacMillan & Wife actress, Susan Saint James. Susan brought two children to the marriage, and the couple went on to have three more children. I distinctly remember the day I was working in the newsroom and heard that Ebersol’s private plane had crashed, critically injuring himself and killing his youngest son, who was only 14 years old at the time. He writes about the experience in both a raw, yet guarded tone. It was a heartbreaking chapter, yet Ebersol kept his composure when writing about it.

Taking over at NBC Sports in the 1980’s, Ebersol brokered deals with the NBA and secured the Olympics by brokering multi-Olympic deals, something that had never been done before. He also brought the Triple Crown races to NBC. And he brought NFL Football back to NBC. Sunday Night Football has become a ratings juggernaut for the network, stealing John Madden from Fox Sports where he had worked for many years. I thought the story of how Ebersol was able to get Al Michaels on board was interesting. Michaels was under contract to Disney, who own ABC and ESPN, but it was clear that NFL Football was not going to happen for the network, leaving Michaels without a broadcast to work on. Ebersol arranged through NBC’s parent company to give back Walt Disney’s rights to Oswald the Rabbit to Disney; it was the only character Walt ever created that he didn’t own. So the trade was made, and Al Michaels moved to NBC. And the rest they say is history.

There’s a lot of talk about the various deals that Ebersol pulled off, and at times, my eyes glazed over a little and that’s the main reason this isn’t a five-star book for me. And I couldn’t help but think as I read the book was “Where are the women?” Besides his wife, Susan, Ebersol has no stories about women. I mean, let’s face it. Even though he had no experience running an entertainment division, this young white guy was hired. That was the nature of the business back then, but even as the years progress, there’s very little interaction with the female species besides his assistant. Despite that fact, this is an interesting book for anyone who has been glued to the TV for various sporting events like the Olympics or Sunday Night Football.
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I would like to thank Net Galley for the opportunity to read this as an ARC. I have heard about , and read about , Dick Ebersol for many years. I have read a number of books about the early days of Saturday Night Live, in which he is a prominent figure. I am also a big sports fan, and this is truly where he made his mark in Television. He writes of his triumphs and failures, with an equal hand. ( although to be fair, he had a lot more triumphs). He has interacted with almost all of the big names in TV and Sports. He was, for many of the big sports events, in the room where it happened.It starts  with his childhood, and continues up to the present time.He also talks about his family, notably his courtship and marriage to his wife, Susan St. James.He includes a chapter about  the devastating plane  crash that killed his youngest son and  left Dick seriously injured.  It is a good book, and moving in parts. I had one question, however. He speaks openly of his love for his wife, and his son's death, but , curiously, does not mention an early first marriage. He is so open about everything else, I found it curious that this was omitted. All in all, however, I enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the world of big time network sports, and the people who bring it to our televisions .
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When I was a kid, my family looked forward to watching Wide World of Sports every week.  I can still hear the theme and the promise of seeing “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Dick Ebersol was still a teenager when he got to work as a research assistant on the show, traveling all over the world for material.  The job also got him into working on the Olympics, which he continued to work on for many years.  He was there for so many iconic moments.  Learning for several years from the legendary Roone Arledge gave his career a huge lift.

He moved from ABC to NBC and for a few years, from sports to entertainment, which is how he worked on the early years of SNL—and that is where he met his wife, Susan Saint James, an actress I used to enjoy watching on Macmillan and Wife.  While little of this book is about Ebersol’s personal life, he does write a bit about his family with Saint James and about the tragic plane crash that killed their youngest son and seriously injured Ebersol and another of his sons.

But this book is mostly about Ebersol’s years in sports.  In fact, once you get past the beginning of the book and the short amount that is about Ebersol’s days with SNL and entertainment TV, early in his career, the book is all about televised sports.

Ebersol brings the reader deep inside the business of televised sports in this book.  It’s interesting, but it quickly gets to be too much detail about things like contract negotiations, especially in football, on and on.  And that comment comes from somebody who is a football obsessive, who reads and watches football content every single day, including in the offseason.  But what I quickly came to realize is that a guy whose work is in TV production isn’t one who likely has a lot of time to spend on the sports he’s working to televise.  So I would say that this book is best suited to somebody who is deeply interested in the business side of sports on TV.

The book reveals just what a boys’ club the world of broadcast TV, especially sports TV, is.  Here’s this guy, who as a very young man was taken under the wing of powerful men, ushered into the world of televised sports and made a great career, which is not how a woman would ever have been able to make her way.  In this whole book about Ebersol’s 40-year career, I don’t recall him doing business with women.  The few times women are even mentioned, it is almost always as wives.  

The state of the world he entered was hardly of Ebersol’s making, but his writing does reflect some pretty antiquated attitudes, as when he remarks that his NBC Football Night in America isn’t just for men who’ve been watching football all day but also for the women who joined the men to see the show’s storytelling—which includes cooking segments.  Boy, how galling, that blanket assumption about women not watching football but settling down with their mates to watch some “storytelling” that includes domestic and fluffy stuff.  I’m female and on Sunday I watch football all day, as do quite a few other women I know.  Oh, and I rarely watch Football Night in America, because I’d rather watch games I recorded and more analytical shows.  I had to wonder with a stereotyped attitude like that toward women, would Ebersol ever have been open to bringing more young women into the world of television sports?

Something more positive that struck me while reading is that most of Ebersol’s career was spent at a time when sports on TV was a huge shared experience in this country.  You had to turn on the TV and watch, period.  No time-shifting, so streaming, no hundreds of options.  What Ebersol had a hand in producing was very visible to a huge percentage of the American public.  What an exhilarating—but daunting—feeling that must have been.
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I'm an SNL junkie, so I'll read anything about that comedy institution. Mr. Ebersol's book added a little bit of context to things I already knew, but what really stunned me was his recounting of the terrible plane crash that took his son's life. I can't believe I'd never heard about it and I was inspired by his fortitude. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the network TV landscape of the late 20th - early 21st century.
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I truly enjoyed From Saturday Night to Sunday Night.  Dick Ebersol’s life story is amazing with all the people he met along they way to the deals he made.  The book does mostly focus on the Sports aspect of his career.  I felt it only touched a little bit on his days at Saturday Night Live especially since he was there in the beginning.  If you enjoy behind the scenes story, then you will enjoy this book.  Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the E-ARC.  This is my own opinion.
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A truly fascinating memoir by an innovative person. I knew of Dick Ebersol, but did not know just how many things he accomplished during his career. The sheer amount of truly famous people that he crossed paths with and became good friends with is astounding. My jaw literally dropped several times while reading this book (especially the Frank Sinatra story - oh my god). Dick Ebersol forever changed the landscape of sports and entertainment as we know it, and this is the proof. SUCH an interesting read and I would HIGHLY recommend this to others.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC!
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Fascinating read about Dick Ebersol’s varied and exciting life.  The highs and the lows.   I knew of him, but was very interested in the wide variety of experiences he had and how much he brought the table every time!
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3.5 rounded to 4

Entertaining if rather shallow account of TV executive Dick Ebersol's rise to the top of his profession. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much of his career had to do with sports and I'm not interested in sports much, so after Ebersol's Saturday Night Live years, the book lost a lot of its spark for me. I really wish he'd had more about SNL. He was there for 5 years and had some of the most exciting seasons, but he only runs down some of the highlights—Eddie Murphy becoming a star, Billy Crystal returning to the show—and then dispenses with his time there as if it wasn't really interesting to him.

As with most of these memoirs of successful white male show biz types, I'm always left slack-jawed by how much of their success was just handed to them because another white male liked them. Not to say that men like Ebersol didn't work hard, or weren't smart or innovative—but it's truly astonishing how much their big breaks came quickly and easily because at some point another white male simply took them under their wing and escorted them to the top of their profession. I never get the sense that these guys realize how much women and people of color had completely different experiences. Anyway...

Ebersol also had a tragedy involving his youngest son, who died in a private plane crash that also almost killed Ebersol.

A decent read if you like sports. I just reviewed From Saturday Night to Sunday Night by Dick Ebersol. #NetGalley Thank you to NetGalley, Dick Ebersol, and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Dick Ebersol was the the head of NBC sports for several years; his memoir begins with his childhood and takes the reader through his subsequent rise from gofer at ABC to the man who  helped make NBC the network of the Olympics. While Ebersol gives ample praise to everyone he worked with, a good portion of the book extols his negotiating powers and TV producer accomplishments to a point where the reader may tire of his nonstop self praise.

However, while describing the horrific plane crash where Ebersol was severely injured and his 14 year old son was killed, the reader can  easily picture the tragic events and grieve for Ebersol's family.

Fans of TV and sports fans will enjoy reading about the genesis of the deals that Ebersol made to secure broadcasting rights for NBC.
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What a fascinating book this was, well written, easy to follow and delightful. I knew somethings about Dick Ebersol but had no idea of the amazing career that he had starting in his late teens with sports and broadcasting. Following his life from good times, to sad times and everything in between, a great story that should be on everyone's to read list.
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I enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at his producing career; although the chapters about negotiations seemed to drag and did not have a lot of "personal color." It seems most of his life was a series of fortunate events, so buckle up for that ride. Overall, I'm glad I read this book and would recommended to any other TV-production nerds, but probably not the general public.

Thanks #netgalley for the advanced copy!
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I had heard of Dick Ebersol before, but really didn't know anything about him.

I chose to read this because I enjoyed watching SNL reruns as a kid and wanted to to learn about his contribution to it. It turns out that SNL was only a small part of his very successful career. I enjoyed learning about some of the behind-the-scenes workings of both the Olympic Games and Sunday Night Football.

A bit of his personal life was sprinkled into the book as well, and the author remained on task and focused on the work stories.
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This was a fascinating peek behind the curtain of entertainment production - the creativity, the high dollar deals, the who's who of sports and media. Dick Ebersol helped create Saturday Night Live, WrestleMania, and Sunday Night Football. He was also instrumental in making the NBA the juggernaut it is today, and he was the force behind the extraordinary broadcasts of numerous Olympic games.

But this is not a book about sports or even about producing TV. This is a book about building relationships, being in the right place at the right time, working harder than everyone else in the room, paying attention to details but also having vision. Every person who is in management should read this. Every high school and college graduate should read this. Every person who wants to live his or her best life should read it.

Not family friendly due to mild language.
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I found this to be a wonderful really interesting read.Dick Ebersol shares behind the scene stories of the cast of snl the iconic performers I watched every week.He opened up about the plane crash the heartbreaking story of his young sons death.An entertaining informative read with all the ups& downs will be recommending.#netgalley #simon&schuster
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I had to chuckle as I read legendary television executive Dick Ebersol's "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night," a journey through Ebersol's 40 years of laughter, tears, and touchdowns in television.

It happened when I realized that Ebersol's Olympic work had included the Mexico City Olympics during the famous protest by John Carlos, the tragic 1972 Munich Olympics where Israeli athletes were held hostage and killed, and even the infamous Atlanta Olympics with its bombing.

So, basically. We need to keep Ebersol away from the Olympics.

Seriously, though. "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" is a low-key, fascinating read about one of contemporary television's most familiar names. Ebersol dropped out of college to join the crew of ABC's Wide World of Sports. He never really looked back. He co-created "Saturday Night Live" with Lorne Michaels and produced the show for four years during the period that launched Eddie Murphy to stardom. He created "Friday Night Videos" and partnered with Vince McMahon to bring professional wrestling to network television before taking over NBC Sports and helping to turn basketball into a global phenomenon. He made history as the first broadcaster to host the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, and Summer Olympics all in one year. While he was there for the tragic bombing in Atlanta, he was also responsible for Muhammad Ali's poignant and powerful lighting of the Olympic Flame in that same Olympics.

"From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" is a fairly matter-of-fact journey through Ebersol's professional journey. While it's certainly autobiographical, there's little denying that Ebersol spends a good majority of his time taking us through his career with light-hearted stories along the way and honest observations about those situations, circumstances, and people with whom things didn't always end up so well.

"From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" is at its most powerful, however, when Ebersol recounts the story of the plane crash that claimed the life of his fourteen-year-old Son Teddy and nearly killed him. After months of recovery, Ebersol undertook what may very well be his greatest professional achievement - creating NBC's Sunday Night Football, a program that became the #1 primetime show in America and continues to be so.

Much of "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" feels like we've sat down with a storyteller and given him the room needed to tell his stories. If there's a slight problem with "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night," it's that there's very little tonal variation throughout the book with the exception, unsurprisingly, of Ebersol's brief intro and the chapter about Ebersol's plane crash.

How you already feel about Ebersol and the projects he's led will likely determine your appreciation for "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night," a book with several chapters centered around Ebersol's extensive sports background and some truly engaging material around Ebersol's history with "Saturday Night Live." Not surprisingly, I found myself much more engaged with the "Saturday Night Live" material and less engaged with but still appreciating Ebersol's masterful work in professional sports and how to effectively broadcast it and make it more meaningful.

Ebersol shares a myriad of stories involving the likes of Billy Crystal, Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps and Larry David and includes a delightful little tale about the day Eddie Murphy met the real-life Mister Rogers.

Informative and engaging, "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" takes us behind the scenes with one of television's true icons and gives us insight into how he helped create some of television's most memorable moments and the relationships he built along the way. Fans of television history and/or Ebersol himself will find much to love inside the pages of "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night."
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Simon & Schuster  and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

Interesting read and quite informative. I throughly enjoyed the look into this legend and legendary show. People I’ve watched my entire life. Stories humanizing them, making Dick Ebersol, his life, tragedies and triumphs relatable. 

It brings a relatable aspect to something that feels so out of my realm.
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