'Desperate Networks'

You can't blame Jessica for choosing the kind of swimwear that she'd look great in, even if few others would. A model struts down the runway in a red one-piece suit with a plunging neckline at the Jessica Simpson swimwear show in Miami Beach on July 14, 2007.
Getty Images/Mark Mainz
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
It's "Upfront Week" in New York — the time of year when the TV networks introduce their new shows and schedules to the advertising community.

The "upfront" part comes from the idea that the shows will be so enticing that the ad buyers will scoop up time before the season starts next fall. Over the next couple of weeks, the networks will be judged on just how much money they can say they have been pledged.

It's a crazy time. The competition is fierce and the stakes, the money, the bragging rights and the opportunity to say, "You are better than the other guy" have to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Which brings me to the real topic. Bill Carter's new book is called "Desperate Networks." If you love business or TV or the business of TV, it's a must read. Carter, a reporter for The New York Times, shows just how hard it is to get to No. 1 — and how easy it is to fall.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.