|The Late Shift|
|Written by|| George Armitage |
|Directed by||Betty Thomas|
|Starring|| John Michael Higgins |
|Theme music composer||Ira Newborn|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producers|| Ivan Reitman |
Joe Medjuck (co-executive producer)
Daniel Goldberg (co-executive producer)
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Production companies|| HBO Pictures |
Northern Lights Entertainment
The Late Shift is a 1996 American television film produced by HBO. It was directed by Betty Thomas and based on the book of the same name by The New York Times media reporter Bill Carter.
In 1991, behind-the-scenes network politics embroil television executives responsible for NBC's late-night programming. Johnny Carson has hosted The Tonight Show for decades, but he and his audience are both growing older, leaving NBC to anticipate the day when a new host will be needed. Carson's permanent guest host, Jay Leno, and the host of the show that follows Carson's each night, David Letterman, both vie for Carson's job. It is widely assumed that Letterman is the hand-picked heir apparent whom Carson favors, but NBC executives privately speculate that Leno could be more popular with 11:30 p.m. audiences, as well as easier for the network to control. They also would not have to deal with Letterman's stipulation for ownership rights to the show.
Leno's manager, Helen Kushnick, secures the spot for Leno with negotiating tactics that could be construed as either shrewd or unethical. Leno is concerned that her methods might alienate Carson, but does not wish to be disloyal, as he believes that she has been responsible for his success; in addition, he had promised to take care of her after her husband's death. Kushnick harshly instructs Leno to just keep telling jokes and leave the business end to her. Surely enough, Kushnick secures the producer's position for herself at The Tonight Show, on the condition that no public announcement will be made. Letterman continues to believe he is still in contention for the position.
In the spring of 1991, Carson unexpectedly announces his retirement, effective in one year. NBC executives inform an angry Letterman they have selected Leno to replace Carson. Leno takes over in May 1992, but Kushnick's bullying manner angers Leno's colleagues, potential guests, and others to the point of interfering with network airtime and relationships. NBC executives warn the mild-mannered Leno that they are going to fire Kushnick and, if he sides with her, he would be let go as well. Kushnick is dismissed by NBC and barred from the studio lot. Despite Kushnick's pleas to keep his promise to take care of her and her daughter, Leno is angry because she nearly cost him a dream job. After a heated argument, Leno fires Kushnick and ends their friendship. Later, Leno eavesdrops on an executive meeting in which they discuss the possibility of replacing him with Letterman.
Letterman, devastated at being passed over, hires Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz to negotiate on his behalf; Ovitz promises that not only will Letterman be offered an 11:30 p.m. show, he will be offered it by every network. True to Ovitz's word, Letterman is courted by all the major networks and syndicates. He provisionally accepts an offer from CBS that gives him an 11:30 p.m show, but continues to hold on to his lifelong dream of hosting The Tonight Show. Per Letterman and NBC's contract, NBC still has several months to either match CBS's offer or present an acceptable counteroffer to keep Letterman. Producer Peter Lassally, close to both Carson and Letterman, finally convinces NBC to offer Letterman the Tonight Show position. However, NBC's offer is substantially weaker than CBS's and would force Letterman to wait until May 1994 to take over the show. Lassally, disappointed at NBC's offer, makes it clear to Letterman that the Tonight Show job is now "damaged goods" and Dave would be working with the very people who passed him by, who may also double-cross him. In addition, Lassally warns Letterman that he will be vilified in the press for forcing Leno out.
Taking Lassally's suggestion, Letterman calls Carson to ask for advice; Carson says he would probably leave NBC if he were in Letterman's position. Letterman rejects NBC's counteroffer and accepts CBS's offer to host his own 11:30 show beginning in the fall of 1993. Letterman and Leno ultimately go head to head at 11:30, with Letterman winning in the TV ratings in the beginning, then Leno firmly re-establishing The Tonight Show's lead in the ratings.
|Kathy Bates||Helen Kushnick|
|John Michael Higgins||David Letterman|
|Daniel Roebuck||Jay Leno|
|Bob Balaban||Warren Littlefield|
|Ed Begley, Jr.||Rod Perth|
|Peter Jurasik||Howard Stringer|
|Reni Santoni||John Agoglia|
|John Kapelos||Robert Morton|
|Steven Gilborn||Peter Lassally|
|John Getz||Brandon Tartikoff|
|Lawrence Pressman||Bob Wright|
|Treat Williams||Michael Ovitz|
|Paul Elder||Rupert Murdoch|
|Michael Fairman||Michael Gartner|
|Aaron Lustig||Paul Shaffer|
|Kevin Scannell||Dick Ebersol|
|Edmund L. Shaff||Jack Welch|
|Kerry Noonan||Letterman's girlfriend|
|Rich Little||Johnny Carson|
|Nicholas Guest||Bob Iger|
|Penny Peyser||Susan Binford|
|Lucinda Jenney||Debbie Vickers|
|Arthur Taxier||Lee Gabler|
Real-life CBS executive Rod Perth (played by Ed Begley Jr. in the film) appears briefly in a cameo role. (He is the person Howard Stringer mistakes for Perth in the CAA lobby). Actor Ed Begley Jr. and Rod Perth share an extraordinary physical resemblance, something the film makers milk for humor in the scene.
The film received seven Emmy Award nominations in categories including "Outstanding Made for Television Movie,"makeup, casting, writing, directing, and acting. For her role in the film as Helen Kushnick, actress Kathy Bates won awards from the American Comedy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the Satellite Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The film was also recognized with an award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials" from the Directors Guild of America Awards. However, David Letterman, who saw clips of the film, called the movie "the biggest waste of film since my wedding photos." He also likened John Michael Higgins' portrayal to that of a "psychotic chimp." Letterman invited Higgins onto his program, but Higgins declined.
|1996||Artios Award||Best Casting for TV Movie of the Week||Nancy Foy||Nominated|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for a Miniseries or a Special||Nancy Foy, Phyllis Huffman||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or a Special||Betty Thomas||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Miniseries or a Special||June Westmore, Monty Westmore, Sharin Helgestad, Del Acevedo, Matthew W. Mungle||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Miniseries or a Special||Bill Carter, George Armitage||Nominated|
|Outstanding Made for Television Movie||Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck, Daniel Goldberg, Don Carmody||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special||Treat Williams||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special||Kathy Bates||Nominated|
|1997||American Comedy Award||Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication||Kathy Bates||Won|
|DGA Award||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials||Betty Thomas, Jake Jacobson, Richard Graves, Robert Lorenz||Won|
|Golden Globe||Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV||Kathy Bates||Won|
|Satellite Award||Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Kathy Bates||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Treat Williams||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries||Kathy Bates||Won|
Kushnick filed a $30 million lawsuit against Bill Carter, author of the eponymous book upon which the HBO film was based, claiming libel. Specifically, her case related to a claim that she planted a story about Carson's retirement in the New York Post .The then-pending lawsuit was noted in the film's epilogue, as the Broadway tune "There's No Business Like Show Business" plays. The lawsuit settled out of court for an undisclosed sum; Kushnick died of cancer in August 1996.
On January 19, 2010, during Conan O'Brien's final week as host of "The Tonight Show," guest Quentin Tarantino jokingly suggested he direct a sequel to The Late Shift, cast O'Brien as himself and make it a revenge movie in the style of his film Kill Bill with the title Late Shift 2: The Rolling Thunder of Revenge.The Toronto Star reported in February 2010 that a sequel to The Late Shift film was in planning stages. In the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien , O'Brien said that he wished actress Tilda Swinton could portray him in a film version of The Tonight Show conflict, referring to a running gag about their similar appearance. Swinton subsequently expressed interest in being cast as Conan O'Brien in a sequel to The Late Shift.
When asked in a June 2010 Movieline interview if there was going to be a film adaptation of The War for Late Night , Carter responded that plans were not serious at that point, stating, "Not really. Nothing serious. Let’s put it this way: There have always been people kicking it around because they think it’s funny. ... Letterman made a ... joke saying that Max von Sydow should play him. So, you know, people are just kicking it around like that."Actor Bob Balaban, who portrayed NBC executive Warren Littlefield in the film The Late Shift, said he wanted to portray Jeff Zucker, saying that actor Jason Alexander would also be a good choice for the part.
David Michael Letterman is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He hosted late night television talk shows for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC, and ending with the May 20, 2015, broadcast of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In total, Letterman hosted 6,080 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing his friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history. In 1996, Letterman was ranked 45th on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. In 2002, The Late Show with David Letterman was ranked seventh on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
James Douglas Muir Leno is an American television host, comedian, and writer. After doing stand-up comedy for years, he became the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00pm ET, also on NBC. After The Jay Leno Show was canceled in January 2010 amid a host controversy, Leno returned to host The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 1, 2010. He hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show on February 6, 2014. That year, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Since 2014, Leno has hosted Jay Leno's Garage.
Late Night with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman that aired from 1982 to 1993. It premiered on NBC on February 1, 1982 and concluded on June 25, 1993. Letterman began hosting Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in August 1993. The series has since been reformatted as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
The Late Show with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS, the first iteration of the Late Show franchise. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and was produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS Television Studios. The show's music director and leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, was Paul Shaffer. The head writer was Matt Roberts and the announcer was originally Bill Wendell, then Alan Kalter. In most U.S. markets the show aired from 11:35 p.m. to 12:35 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, and recorded Monday to Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The second Thursday episode usually aired on Friday of that week.
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show currently broadcast from the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center in New York City, the show's original location, and it has aired on NBC since 1954. The show has been hosted by six comedians: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon. It has had several recurring guest hosts including Ernie Kovacs during the Steve Allen era and Joey Bishop, David Letterman, Joan Rivers, David Brenner, and Leno during Johnny Carson's stewardship, although the practice has been abandoned since Carson's departure, with hosts preferring reruns to showcasing potential rivals. The Tonight Show is the world's longest-running talk show and the longest-running, regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States. It is the third-longest-running show on NBC, after the news-and-talk shows Today and Meet the Press.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien that aired 2,725 episodes on NBC from September 13, 1993 to February 20, 2009. The show featured varied comedic material, celebrity interviews, and musical and comedy performances. Late Night aired weeknights at 12:37 am Eastern/11:37 pm Central and 12:37 am Mountain in the United States. From 1993 until 2000, Andy Richter served as O'Brien's sidekick; following his departure, O'Brien was the show's sole featured performer. The show's house musical act was The Max Weinberg 7, led by E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jay Leno that first aired from May 25, 1992, to May 29, 2009, and resumed production on March 1, 2010 until its ending on February 6, 2014.
Helen Kushnick, born Helen Gorman in New York, was the agent of comedians Jimmie Walker, Elayne Boosler and Jay Leno for much of her early career. Leno had been performing stand-up comedy in a variety of venues when she found him, and afterwards, Kushnick was with him all the way to his role hosting The Tonight Show.
The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night is a 1994 non-fiction book written by The New York Times media reporter Bill Carter. It chronicles the early 1990s conflict surrounding the American late-night talk show The Tonight Show. The book was later made into a film of the same name by HBO.
Conan Christopher O'Brien is an American television host, comedian, actor, writer, podcaster, and producer. He is best known for hosting the late-night talk shows Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and since 2010, Conan on the cable channel TBS. Prior to his hosting career, he was a writer for Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.
Peter Lassally is a German-born American former executive who served as the executive producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Late Night with David Letterman, the Late Show with David Letterman and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
The Jay Leno Show is an American talk show created by and starring Jay Leno. Premiering on NBC on September 14, 2009, the program aired on weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT through February 9, 2010. The program was modeled upon the format of a late night talk show—specifically, Jay Leno's incarnation of The Tonight Show, opening with a comedic monologue, followed by interviews with celebrity guests and other comedy segments. Sketches from The Tonight Show were carried over to The Jay Leno Show, along with new sketches.
The Dennis Miller Show is an American syndicated late-night talk show created by and starring comedian Dennis Miller. The show launched in January 1992 and was hosted by the former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchor as an attempt by syndicator Tribune Entertainment to carve out a niche in the late-night television landscape; an opportunity to do so was anticipated due to Johnny Carson's retirement from The Tonight Show that May and his replacement by Jay Leno. Miller's show was unable to build a significant audience, however, and was cancelled after seven months.
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show that featured Conan O'Brien as host from June 1, 2009, to January 22, 2010, as part of NBC's long-running Tonight Show franchise. O'Brien had previously hosted NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, which followed The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 16 years, until his brief succession over Leno.
Late Night is an American late-night talk and variety show airing on NBC since 1982. Four men have hosted Late Night: David Letterman (1982–1993), Conan O'Brien (1993–2009), Jimmy Fallon (2009–2014), and Seth Meyers (2014–present). Each iteration of the show was built around its host, and maintained distinct identities aside from the title, timeslot, and network. The longest-serving host to date was O'Brien, who hosted Late Night with Conan O'Brien for almost 16 years, from September 1993 to February 2009.
A late-night talk show is a genre of talk show popular in the United States, where the format originated. It is generally structured around humorous monologues about the day's news, guest interviews, comedy sketches and music performances. It is characterized by spontaneous conversation, and for an effect of immediacy and intimacy as if the host was speaking alone to each of the millions of audience members. Late-night talk shows are also fundamentally shaped by the personality of the host, which constitutes the "trademark" of the show.
The 2010 Tonight Show conflict was a media and public relations conflict involving the American television network NBC and two of its late-night talk show hosts, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. Leno, the host of long-running franchise The Tonight Show since 1992, and O'Brien, host of Late Night since 1993, were strong ratings leaders for the network for much of the decade. When O'Brien's contract neared its end and he was courted by other networks in 2001, NBC extended his contract and guaranteed him he would be the fifth host of The Tonight Show. The network neglected to let Leno know this until his contract extension in 2004, when they informed him he would remain host for five more years and then transition the show to O'Brien in 2009. When that time arrived, other networks conveyed interest in Leno; NBC, in an effort to keep both of its late-night stars, offered Leno a nightly primetime show before the local news and O'Brien's Tonight Show.
"Khonani" is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 76th overall episode of the series. It was written by co-producer Vali Chandrasekaran and directed by Beth McCarthy Miller. It originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network in the United States on April 22, 2010, following shortly after the episode "Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter" on the same night. Guest stars in this episode include Kapil Bawa and Subhas Ramsaywack.
The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy is a 2010 non-fiction book written by The New York Times media reporter Bill Carter. It chronicles the 2010 conflict surrounding the American late-night talk show The Tonight Show involving Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. It is a sequel to Carter's 1994 book The Late Shift, which detailed the struggle for the hosting spot on The Tonight Show between David Letterman and Jay Leno in the early 1990s following the retirement of Johnny Carson. It was first published on November 4, 2010, by Viking Press.
Richard Adam Ludwin was an American television executive and former vice president at NBC Television. He is notable as the executive who backed Jerry Seinfeld's series Seinfeld, which went on to become one of the most popular and successful television sitcoms of all time. During his 31 years at NBC, Ludwin worked with every The Tonight Show host—Steve Allen and Jack Paar, albeit after their time on Tonight, as well as Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon. He also helped guide the network through the Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno conflict in 2010.