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:

Letterman, Leno and the battle over the Tonight Show. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this film, Bob Balaban played NBC President Warren Littlefield. He also played the character Russell Dalrymple on Seinfeld (1989), the NBC executive who was inspired by Littlefield. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene set in 1990, Helen Kushnick and Warren Littlefield are seen talking on carphones about the possibility of Leno being guaranteed the Tonight Show when Carson finally decides to quit. Littlefield is driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the ZJ body style, which wasn't introduced until 1993. See more »

Quotes

David Letterman: [embarrassed] How can a television show be worth all this embarrassment?
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Connections

References A Different World (1987) 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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