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Buy, Rent or Skip The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night?

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Author Topic: The Late Shift - Bill Carter  (Read 69 times)

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Chiprocks1

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The Late Shift - Bill Carter
« on: July 21, 2011, 07:22:22 pm »
The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night (1995)
 



Shocking, but this is the first time I've ever read this. This was another one of those books where the majority of the stuff within it's pages I had already heard about from different sources over the years: Online forums, Magazines, Entertainment News Shows, etc... So, for me there really was no desire to give this one a read. But then I heard that Bill Carter had a new book out called The War For Late Night, detailing the train wreck that was Jay Leno Vs. Conan O'Brien. Once I had a copy of that book in my hand I decided that I might as well start with The Late Shift and make it a marathon read for myself. And I'm glad I did just that.

Simply put, The Late Shift is hands down the nuttiest, wackiest soap opera ever printed on paper. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The stuff that went down was so outlandish that it had to be made up. And yet, it's all real. The book itself reads like a roller coaster. There are so many peaks and valleys that you get dizzy after awhile. But you can't really ever put the book down at all, no matter how hard you try.

The peaks in the book get to insane heights, and the highest of them all is of course Helen Kushnick. For those that don't know about her, she was Jay Leno's manager and Producer of the show who ruled with an iron fist. Even though this book is about Jay Leno and David Letterman fighting over who gets the keys to Johnny Carson desk on The Tonight Show, I believe the real star of the book is Helen, without a doubt. And once she is ousted from the show (as well as the book), it does take a big hit that you end up missing her crazy antics. I did anyways.

The rest of the book continues with the roller coaster ride, but doesn't ever quite reach the same heights  that you get with Helen at the forefront. This is why it gets a lesser rating from me. But that's not to say that the rest of the book sucks. There are still a handful of scenarios that will engage you all the way to the end: Jay hiding in a closet, David seeking council from Johnny and of course all the info pertaining to the pretenders to the throne: Arsenio Hall, Pat Sajak, Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller, etc...Yes, even Conan O'brien is here. Duh.

This is indeed a very fun, entertaining read that will have you flipping pages as fast as people were getting fired. I can easily recommend this to anyone that is a fan of Talk Shows or Soap Operas. I really hope that The War For Late Night doesn't disappoint here. But after The Late Shift, it's got a big task of at least equaling it. I still need to watch the movie version of The Late Shift. I have seen parts of it over the years, but never the entire movie all at once.


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Chiprocks1

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Re: The Late Shift - Bill Carter
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 12:13:57 pm »
David Letterman Talks with Johnny Carson about Jay Leno Hosting 'The Tonight Show'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQwp-kTXEg

Man, how I miss Johnny Carson. They still can't replace the Icon!!!
Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

Chiprocks1

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Re: The Late Shift - Bill Carter
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 12:14:58 pm »
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Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

Neumatic

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Re: The Late Shift - Bill Carter
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2015, 06:28:13 am »
I just happened upon this flick on Amazon and  just started it.  I'll let you know how I like it, but right now I'm surprised to see that this movie is in HG 16:9.

A couple thoughts right off the bat: I immediately kept thinking of Norm MacDonald's impression of Dave and Kevin Nealon's impression of Jay, maybe because I was so used to that.  It actually reminded me of "W," how we were so used to Will Ferrell's impression that it was strange seeing Josh Brolin do it.  And maybe it's a combination of the time period and the actors not looking that much like their characters, but they look like the real life versions of the caricatures that appeared on Pinky And The Brain.

THis might be the first time I can recall seeing Peter Jurasik without that weird hair/wig he sported on Babylon 5 (he was wonderful on that show).

 

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