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".

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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 »

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Details

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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 is telling Jay at the conference to call Morty and he'll book him on the show, Dave points at Jay and his hand switches from right to left. See more »

Quotes

Reporter #2: Are you going to bring Paul Shaffer along on the new show?
David Letterman: [deadpan] Paul who? Oh, God! We forgot about Paul. Howard, is there just a little bit left over for Paul?
See more »

Connections

References The Pat Sajak Show (1989) See more »

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

Good movie for an overview of what happened
16 August 1998 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

While The Late Shift is in no way as good as the original book that describes in detail what happened to David Letterman, Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, Helen Kushnik and the rest of the late night cast of Characters, it is quite enjoyable, a good ride, and a fun time. Both Leno and Letterman are played well, if not a wee bit over-acted. It's worth renting.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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