Network TV is not made by all-seeing manipulators who know exactly how to reach the audience. It is cobbled together by more or less ordinary anxious people who can only guess what the public might like, and are painfully aware that their guess is apt to be wrong. This cast of mind breeds a timid conservatism and the multiplication of spin-offs, knock-offs, and formulaic stereotypes. The writer of books is like one of those inventors who, after much toil in the basement with bamboo and bicycle spokes, would come out with an ungainly flying machine and test it in the park. Generally it would crash, but it wouldn’t bring down a whole corporate economy when it did. The producer on network TV, however, has to cobble together something the size of a G-3, and then fly it cold, right off the drawing-board. The possibilities for loss and humiliation are large.