The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night Hardcover – April 20, 1995
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About the Author
- Publisher : Hyperion; Edition Unstated (April 20, 1995)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0786880899
- ISBN-13 : 978-0786880898
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #514,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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I won't recount television's (first) late-night battle, as that has been done in excess, but suffice to say that "Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night" is a must-read for anyone interested in behind-the-scenes television history, the late-night aspect of which, until recent years, has been an under-explored chapter outside of score-settling books on Johnny Carson. That Bill Carter managed to win an interview with the notoriously private king of late night television is testament enough to his investigative persistence, but earning the trust of the principals--the press-shy Letterman and over-accomodating Leno, both of whom granted extensive interviews--is almost miraculous.
Not that Letterman and Leno are the only players in the story...hardly. While they each exhibit head-scratching behavior at times, the story is driven as much or more by the supporting players. Between the manipulative and fear-inducing machinations of Leno's management, namely Helen Kushnick, and the indecisiveness of NBC executives whose charge it was to provide a smooth transition between Carson and his successor, the storyline unfolds like a spoof of a high school drama, except with more money involved...and it's not a spoof. It's bizarrely real.
Since Carson's retirement in 1992, late night television has changed irrevocably. It's impossible to imagine such a tug-of-war possible today, given the number of broadcast and cable networks, streaming platforms, and You Tube. Anyone who wants can have a show, it seems. (Of course, that didn't prevent a second late-night battle several years after the first, but that's for another review.) The transitions following the retirements of Leno and Letterman were, at least publicly, smooth and easy. "Late Shift" is now an historical account of a different time in television, and definitely one worth knowing.