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>
Both David Letterman and Jay Leno were vocal in their disapproval of the film, with Letterman calling it "the single biggest waste of film since my wedding photos." In an interview he said his self-loathing tendencies were overplayed, in particular a scene where he throws baseballs at an archery target, and he also took issue with the orange/brown hair color given to the actor who played him, John Michael Higgins. See more »
On several cell phone calls, there is an audible dial tone when one caller hangs up on the other. Cell phones do not have audible dial tones. See more »
[outside CBS Studios right before the press conference]
Gentlemen, we are just going from one bizarre circumstance to the next.
See more »
The Late Shift is a great book, I read the book several years ago, and I was transfixed at the cutthroat debauchery that went on when Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno and Johnny Carson tried to grab his spot. When the movie came out, I snagged a VHS copy of the movie, and having reread the book recently, it's hard to say which I enjoy more, because they're quite equal in the amount of information conveyed. The two lead actors, John Michael Higgins, and Daniel Roebuck, two actors I never heard of before, and haven't heard of since, play Leno and Letterman convincingly, despite Letterman's dismissal of his portrayal as being poor. They play the parts quite well, despite a lot of people looking for an imitation of the two. I wasn't as interested in that. The story is what counts. And that brings me to Kathy Bates. Kathy Bates, playing Helen Kushnick, IS this movie. She plays this evil bitch of a character so menacingly you realize how on earth can this woman control herself, much less a national TV show. Yikes! There should be a sequel!!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?