Chayefsky first set words down on paper after convalescing from injuries suffered from an exploding landmine.
Chayefsky originally wanted Paul Newman in the lead role, but despite personal entreaties was unsuccessful in his mission.
Researching Network, Chayefsky trailed Richard Wald, then president of NBC News.
Itzkoff shows how consumed Chayefsky was with saying something definitive.
After making a film version of his novel Altered States, Chayefsky fell ill, dying of cancer on August 1, 1981.
The writer-for-TV, Chayefsky said, had his words mangled, and was treated with a mixture of mock deference and outright contempt.
Chayefsky retreated to his office; he loved writing more than his marriage, Dan says.