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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 2,041 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)

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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:

Changement de décors  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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

When Letterman is complaining to Morty about how bad he sucked on the air, Morty's hair is curly before the get in the elevator, but it turns to straight hair after they exit the elevator. See more »

Quotes

David Letterman: [outside CBS Studios right before the press conference] Gentlemen, we are just going from one bizarre circumstance to the next.
See more »

Connections

References ABC News Nightline (1980) 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

 
Two men, one show, two networks
20 June 2005 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

The Late Shift is a great book, I read the book several years ago, and I was transfixed at the cutthroat debauchery that went on when Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno and Johnny Carson tried to grab his spot. When the movie came out, I snagged a VHS copy of the movie, and having reread the book recently, it's hard to say which I enjoy more, because they're quite equal in the amount of information conveyed. The two lead actors, John Michael Higgins, and Daniel Roebuck, two actors I never heard of before, and haven't heard of since, play Leno and Letterman convincingly, despite Letterman's dismissal of his portrayal as being poor. They play the parts quite well, despite a lot of people looking for an imitation of the two. I wasn't as interested in that. The story is what counts. And that brings me to Kathy Bates. Kathy Bates, playing Helen Kushnick, IS this movie. She plays this evil bitch of a character so menacingly you realize how on earth can this woman control herself, much less a national TV show. Yikes! There should be a sequel!!


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