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>
The movie has Rich Little's Johnny Carson wearing a single breasted black blazer and tan slacks for the final "Tonight Show". Carson, for his final "Tonight Show", actually wore a black double breasted blazer and gray slacks. See more »
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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