6.9/10
2,619
29 user 7 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".

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Writers:

(book), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Helen Kushnick
... David Letterman
... Jay Leno
... Warren Littlefield
... Rod Perth
... Howard Stringer
... John Agoglia
... Robert Morton
... Peter Lassally
... Brandon Tartikoff
... Bob Wright
... Sandra Bernhard
... Michael Ovitz
... Alan Levine
... 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 »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Changement de décors  »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place from 1991 to 1993. See more »

Goofs

A shot of a limousine driving down a NYC street is in fact a shot taken from the 1987 film "The Secret of My Success". Michael J. Fox's plaid shirt is visible through the window as he sits in the driver's side of the limo. See more »

Quotes

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

References Herman's Head (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Johnny's Theme
Written by Paul Anka and Johnny Carson
Chrysalis Standards, Inc. / Here's Johnny Music / Songs of Polygram Int'l
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User Reviews

 
Excellent account of the late night wars.
20 July 2000 | by See all my reviews

Captivating tale of backstabbing behind the curtains. The movie follows the plight of David Letterman and Jay Leno as they struggle for the elusive Tonight Show spot. Letterman led by his desire for the coveted time slot and Leno led by his agent and little-devil-on-the-shoulder, Helen Kushnick.

Kathy Bates (Kushnick) is excellent in this movie, alienating herself from such top dogs as Bob Wright, Warren Littlefield, and Howard Stringer. Towards the end of the film you are so entranced with how she handles every situation from guest bookings to delayed taping, that you find yourself wanting more.

John Michael Higgins (Letterman) plays his part to the tee. At times I found myself wondering if he was any relation to the real Letterman.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in entertainment or the world of corporate negotiations.


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