7.0/10
2,429
29 user 5 critic

The Late Shift (1996)

A dramatization of the rivalry between David Letterman and Jay Leno to over which of them would succeed Johnny Carson as the host of "The Tonight Show".

Director:

Writers:

(book), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 10 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:

Two heads fighting for the late night crown - One head's gotta roll. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jimmy Brogan, the best friend of and head writer for Jay Leno for the first nine years of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992), was critical of Daniel Roebuck's performance as Leno, but was impressed by John Michael Higgins' performance as David Letterman. See more »

Goofs

When David calls Johnny to ask his advice about whether he should take NBC's deal, David says it is a Sunday. But moments before he is watching a football game featuring the Marshall University football team. College teams do not play on Sundays. See more »

Quotes

Michael Ovitz: Peter, I know Dave's circumstances, and so I know why you're here. Dave is a star of such compelling stature that frankly it makes me personally angry he finds himself this abused. We pride ourselves here at CAA in developing a career plan for our clients that protects them as much as it enriches them. David has set such an incredibly high professional standard and yet he is going disturbingly unrewarded. That just doesn't make any sense; it's simply bad business practice. Obviously, we have an...
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Soundtracks

There's No Business Like Show Business
Performed by Ethel Merman
Written by Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin Music Company
Courtesy RCA Victor Red Seal Division of BMG Classics
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User Reviews

 
A really good movie.
3 October 2002 | by (Mankato, Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Alright, so maybe the impersonations of Jay Leno and David Letterman are not spot on, but you still get a sense of who these people are and how they operate behind the screen. Bob Balaban and Treat Williams are excellant as Warren Littlefield and Micheal Ovitz.

The movie doesn't go for joke and punchline but it is still funny. Kathy Bates in particular is amazing as Leno's manager.

Funny, amazing, interesting, very watchable, this is a good TV movie.


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