NEW YORK — Motivated partly by the approaching millennium, HarperCollins executive editor David Hirshey has acquired “The Last Season: Living and Dying in Prime Time,” a proposed look at this fall’s TV season by Rolling Stone senior editor David Wild.
“It will be the last season of the 20th century, and we’ll get the book out by fall 1999, just as the century ends,” Wild said.
Hirshey paid what he termed a low six-figure advance, rumored to be about $150,000, for the book. Crown, which published Wild’s last book, “Seinfeld: The Totally Unauthorized Tribute,” and had the option for this project, reportedly dropped out when it passed six figures.
Other publishers interested in bidding also dropped out because of concerns that books on the TV biz aren’t particularly strong sellers.
A rare strong performer was Bill Carter’s Leno-Letterman saga “The Late Shift,” which also benefited from a HBO adaptation.
Wild, who is repped by literary agent Sarah Lazin, intends to track the progress of new sitcoms and dramas, through the perspective of the show runners responsible for them.
Wild told Daily Variety he hadn’t yet picked which he will focus on, although he had been in contact with Aaron Spelling and “Friends” creators Marta Kauffman, Kevin S. Bright and David Crane.
Wild previously was author of official tie-in books to Spelling’s “Melrose Place” and “Friends.”
Wild also said he’d have no problem writing about shows on Fox, even though the web and HarperCollins are both owned by News Corp. “I wrote this proposal while with a different publisher, and I intend to write that book,” said Wild. Hirshey noted, “No one has ever said to me that we have to bend over backwards” to accommodate Fox.
The book deal brings a reunion of sorts for the Davids: Wild was Hirshey’s assistant at Esquire when Hirshey held a deputy editorship there. “I was a bad typist, so he had to make me an editor,” Wild said about his mentor.