Greg Lyall is a TV news producer for whom television is a ladder out of a difficult childhood into a life of accomplishment and power. Christine Paskins is a star reporter at the Federal Broadcasting System's same Los Angeles affiliate. The passion that drives them to succeed is as strong as the passion that binds them to each other. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Greg meets Diane Roderick, the beautiful and determined daughter of the network's legendary chairman. He soon finds himself offered an executive slot at FBS's New York headquarters and the object of Diane's infatuation. Nearly a decade after deserting Chris for the money, power, and position that marriage to Diane brings him, Greg attains his aim of heading the now struggling network.
His first move to raise the dismal ratings of the network's nightly news program is to offer Chris, now a star of a rival network's early morning show, the job she has always coveted: anchor of the nightly news, the only job that might lure her to work for Greg, whom she despises. When she uncovers a story that can shake the very foundations of the nation, his commitment to her unswerving honesty is tested to its limit.
Star Time is also the often bitingly humorous story of many other people whose intertwining hopes and dreams cling to the FBS network and who will do whatever it takes to realize their dreams. Among them are Marian Marcus, whom Greg anoints to choose the shows for the coming fall season that will make or break the network and, along with it, their careers and the careers of the many people creating those shows; Sally Foster, an actress whose hunger for the spotlight will drive her to any betrayal that might regain it; Biff Stanfield, a black comic who claims his parents chose his name because they wanted a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who could slam dunk and who yearns for acceptance as a TV writer; and Stew Graushner, the former TV news producer whom Fate lifts from the grubby depths of writing for a sleazy TV gossip show to the heights of writing and producing the hottest new sitcom show on TV, only to provoke the reappearance of his estranged wife, who now wants her half of everything he has.
The stories of all these people and their compelling, conflicting ambitions move toward a climax during the critical days of the fall season when the fortunes of the network's lineup and of their careers will be riding on those new shows' success or failure the network's and their Star Time.