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>
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 »
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as a former TV editor, I can say this is as authentic as it gets. It even led to Letterman's producer (thought to be a source) resigning (eventually) in real life. Letterman was outraged (OK, so one goofy thing is it has him throwing softballs at a tire swing on his estate; total fabrication) but the main information is hilariously true, from the silly bidding war for Letterman once he decided to leave NBC to Leno's problems with an agent who was not ready for big time, but who he let run the show (almost to a disastrous exit) out of his famed loyalty. If any of you kids don't grasp the idea of why Letterman is jealous to this day, see this tape.
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