New York City, 1973. Together with his partners, Richie Finestra, president of American Century Records, is on the verge of selling his struggling company to German Polygram, in a deal that includes an impending distribution agreement with Led Zeppelin. But after a disastrous meeting, it's clear that the sale is in jeopardy.
Heading home to Greenwich, Conn., Richie takes a detour to an unplanned reunion with Lester Grimes, a musical artist with whom he has a complicated history. With thoughts of Lester weighing on him, Richie heads to the office, where, in addition to the Led Zeppelin situation, he learns of another problem: Bombastic Frank "Buck" Rogers, owner of a chain of radio stations, is about to boycott American Century due to a perceived slight by one of the label's artists.
In crisis mode, Richie gives his A&R department the mandate to find new acts, prompting office assistant Jamie Vine to bring in The Nasty Bits, a proto-punk band unlike anything anyone has ever heard.
Meanwhile, Richie enlists thuggish independent promotion man Joe Corso to help with the Buck Rogers situation. After a three-day coke binge, Corso summons the sober Richie to Rogers' home, where things go horribly awry.
Despite American Century's troubles, Richie learns that Polygram has agreed to buy the company after all. That night, with both Lester and the Buck Rogers debacle on his mind, he goes violently off the wagon, trashing the den of his Connecticut home and severely jeopardizing his relationship with his wife, Devon, and their two children.
Richie ultimately finds himself coked out and on his own, drawn by a crowd of young people to the Mercer Arts Center in Manhattan, where he sees The New York Dolls perform, a night that sets him on a completely new course.
(2-hour series premiere.)
Aired: 14 Feb 2016