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>
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 »
The scene at the NBC meeting at Carnegie Hall when Johnny Carson announces his retirement takes place in May 1991. Behind Johnny is the fall 1991 NBC schedule. Mad About You (1992) is displayed to air on Wednesday nights. The show did not premiere until the fall of 1992. See more »
[outside CBS Studios right before the press conference]
Gentlemen, we are just going from one bizarre circumstance to the next.
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as a former TV editor, I can say this is as authentic as it gets. It even led to Letterman's producer (thought to be a source) resigning (eventually) in real life. Letterman was outraged (OK, so one goofy thing is it has him throwing softballs at a tire swing on his estate; total fabrication) but the main information is hilariously true, from the silly bidding war for Letterman once he decided to leave NBC to Leno's problems with an agent who was not ready for big time, but who he let run the show (almost to a disastrous exit) out of his famed loyalty. If any of you kids don't grasp the idea of why Letterman is jealous to this day, see this tape.
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