6.9/10
2,667
29 user 9 critic

The Late Shift (1996)

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".

Director:

Betty Thomas

Writers:

Bill Carter (book), Bill Carter (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathy Bates ... Helen Kushnick
John Michael Higgins ... David Letterman
Daniel Roebuck ... Jay Leno
Bob Balaban ... Warren Littlefield
Ed Begley Jr. ... Rod Perth
Peter Jurasik ... Howard Stringer
Reni Santoni ... John Agoglia
John Kapelos ... Robert Morton
Steven Gilborn ... Peter Lassally
John Getz ... Brandon Tartikoff
Lawrence Pressman ... Bob Wright
Sandra Bernhard ... Sandra Bernhard
Treat Williams ... Michael Ovitz
David Brisbin ... Alan Levine
Michael Chieffo ... Rick Ludwin
Edit

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 »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Changement de décors See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes in Michael Ovitz's office were filmed in Ivan Reitman's actual office. See more »

Goofs

The film depicts Johnny Carson's familiar theme music playing when Jay Leno performs as a guest host on "Tonight." This music was only used for Carson himself, and never for Leno. See more »

Quotes

Jay Leno: I may look stupid, but I'm Italian. I know how to find information!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno's ratings past David Letterman's. See more »

Connections

References NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (1970) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A really good movie.
3 October 2002 | by vikingsrule78See all my reviews

Alright, so maybe the impersonations of Jay Leno and David Letterman are not spot on, but you still get a sense of who these people are and how they operate behind the screen. Bob Balaban and Treat Williams are excellant as Warren Littlefield and Micheal Ovitz.

The movie doesn't go for joke and punchline but it is still funny. Kathy Bates in particular is amazing as Leno's manager.

Funny, amazing, interesting, very watchable, this is a good TV movie.


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed