Billion Dollar Game: How Three Men Risked It All and Changed the Face of Television (Anglais) Broché – 4 avril 2005
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The book is actually broken into 2 parts. Part 1 is the story of the 3 formats and the rise of Endemol. Part 2 is a detailed look at Big Brother around the world - the characters and stunts, community reaction, and tales of sex and relationships in the various houses. I enjoyed the first series of my local edition of BB, but as each new series came round the housemates got more annoying and the stunts more contrived. The novelty of the show quickly wore off. So Part 2 really didn't appeal to me and I found myself skipping page after page. Big Brother fans will probably be enthralled - but then they too could well be put off by the earlier study of Endemol's share price and talk of the NASDAQ and the dot.com boom.
The story of the rise of the 3 formats can be difficult to follow too at times. Bazalgette often jumps suddenly from one show to the other, continent to continent, network to network and it can be difficult to keep track of which production head at which network has rejected which show. While obviously well researched, the book names just about every person at every network who was ever approached by the respective creators, and you can easily lose track of who's who.
If you're interested in how a TV show comes into being, or how a company can become a multi-billion dollar juggernaut, or how Big Brother took over the world then you'll undoubtably find parts of this book fascinating. But you may well find yourself wishing Bazalgette had taken a smaller bite of the apple, and eventually put this book back on the shelf with many of the pages untouched.
There are many general business lessons and a few specific negotiating tips in them pages.
Reading through the three intertwined stories of perseverance and rivalry, I even got a few ideas that could be turned into a few new reality TV shows. Now I need a book that will teach me how to protect my ideas before disclosing them to production houses and TV executives. Pity Bazalgette does not address that in his accounts of the pitches and negotiations. That would be my only gripe about this interesting and useful book.