The Late Shift (1996)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Talk-Show  |  24 February 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,256 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 4 critic

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



(book), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Video

Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Rat Pack (TV Movie 1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A look at the famous "Rat Pack" of the '60s, and how their glamorous alliances and carefree sophistication created a mythical lifestyle.

Director: Rob Cohen
Stars: Ray Liotta, Joe Mantegna, Don Cheadle
Private Parts (1997)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The autobiographical story of Howard Stern, the radio rebel who is now also a TV personality, an author and a movie star.

Director: Betty Thomas
Stars: Howard Stern, Mary McCormack, Robin Quivers
Late Shift (2013)
Short | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A lonely third shift worker's life snaps out of the mundane when he offer a ride to a young prostitute.

Director: William Smyth
Stars: Derek McLaurin, Tiff Roma
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.

Director: Andrew Rossi
Stars: David Carr, Sarah Ellison, Larry Ingrassia
Game Change (TV Movie 2012)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Apple. Intel. Genentech. Atari. Google. Cisco. Stratospheric successes with high stakes all around. Behind some of the world's most revolutionary companies are a handful of men who (through... See full summary »

Directors: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Stars: Bill Bowes, Herbert Boyer, Po Bronson
Comedy | Music | Talk-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Host Johnny Carson performs comedy routines and chats with various celebrities.

Stars: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Skitch Henderson
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on the life of comedian, Chris Farley.

Directors: Brent Hodge, Derik Murray
Stars: Adam Sandler, Christina Applegate, Mike Myers
Cinema Verite (TV Movie 2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the first American family to be the subjects of a reality TV show.

Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Stars: Diane Lane, Kaitlyn Dever, Tim Robbins
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates
Director: Tobias Weber
Stars: Joe Sowerbutts, Haruka Abe, Richard Durden
Lateshift (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Patrick Chadwick
Stars: Terence Anderson, Francesca De Luca, Nigel Roper


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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:





Release Date:

24 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Changement de décors  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Anthony Heald was considered for the role of Michael Ovitz. See more »


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 »


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...
See more »


References The Arsenio Hall Show (1989) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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!!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why I think Letterman was not offered the tonight show JAlexa9898
What if Johnny Carson had done this JAlexa9898
Treat Williams BEST performance xabat77
My favorite Kathy Bates performance EVER!!! jcouncil-1
Talked 19990305
sequal steven_winkler6
Discuss The Late Shift (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: