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The Late Shift (1996)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy | Drama | Talk-Show  -  24 February 1996 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,985 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 3 critic

A dramatization of the rivalry to be the successor of Johnny Carson as the host of "The Tonight Show."

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(book), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Late Shift (TV Movie 1996)

The Late Shift (TV Movie 1996) on IMDb 7/10

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rod Perth
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Howard Stringer
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John Agoglia
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Bob Wright
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Sandra Bernhard
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Alan Levine
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Rick Ludwin
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Storyline

HBO movie about the behind-the-scenes network politics responsible for the changes in late-night talk-show hosts, after the retirement of Johnny Carson from the Tonight Show on NBC. Jay Leno and David Letterman were both vying for the position, but Leno's tough manager Helen Kushnick got him the spot. In the wake of her 'stepping on the toes' of powerful network executives and 'playing hardball' tactics with guest bookings, she found herself being pushed out of her job as Tonight Show Executive Producer and Jay's manager. Letterman, devastated by his being passed over, brought in superagent Mike Ovitz to negotiate on his behalf, resulting in his move to CBS. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Letterman, Leno and the battle over the Tonight Show. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Late Shift  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A few days after the film's premiere, John Michael Higgins was booked on Late Show with David Letterman (1993) to talk about the movie and what it was like to portray Letterman. Higgins then sat in the green room as Letterman spent the next hour padding bits and doing filler, all the while promising Higgins was "coming up". At the end of the show Letterman apologized to Higgins for "running out of time", pointedly saying he hoped the actor could "come back again soon." Higgins was never re-booked. See more »

Goofs

On several cell phone calls, there is an audible dial tone when one caller hangs up on the other. Cell phones do not have audible dial tones. See more »

Quotes

Reporter #3: Are you gonna kick Jay Leno's ass?
David Letterman: I'll kick your ass.
See more »

Connections

References Late Night with David Letterman (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Johnny's Theme
Written by Paul Anka and Johnny Carson
Chrysalis Standards, Inc. / Here's Johnny Music / Songs of Polygram Int'l
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable Behind-the-Scenes Look at Television
11 August 2002 | by (Fairfax, VA) – See all my reviews

Although a made for cable film by HBO, it is an enjoyable movie and a fascinating look at the back-stabbing and double-dealing world of television. Allowing the viewer to peek behind the scenes of the so-called late night talk show wars in the early 90s, as Jay Leno and David Letterman competed for the coveted position as host of the Tonight Show. Kathy Bates gives a bravo performance as Leno's mercurial manager Helen Kushnick and one can feel empathy for what Leno/Letterman endured at the hands of tv executives. It is just as timely now, considering the recent events involving the failed attempt by ABC to replace Nightline with Letterman. No matter how many times I have seen this film, I still find it as much a pleasure to watch as I did when it first aired. If this should ever be released on DVD, I would certainly add it to my collection.


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