The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy

The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy

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by Bill Carter
     
 

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A dramatic account of the politics and personalities behind NBC's calamitous attempt to reinvent late-night television.

When NBC decided to move Jay Leno into prime time to make room for Conan O'Brien to host the Tonight show-a job he had been promised five years earlier-skeptics anticipated a train wreck for the ages. It took, in fact, only a…  See more details below

Overview

A dramatic account of the politics and personalities behind NBC's calamitous attempt to reinvent late-night television.

When NBC decided to move Jay Leno into prime time to make room for Conan O'Brien to host the Tonight show-a job he had been promised five years earlier-skeptics anticipated a train wreck for the ages. It took, in fact, only a few months for the dire predictions to come true. Leno's show, panned by critics, dragged down the ratings-and the profits-of NBC's affiliates, while ratings for Conan's new Tonight show plummeted to the lowest levels in history. Conan's collapse, meanwhile, opened an unexpected door of opportunity for rival David Letterman. What followed was a boisterous, angry, frequently hilarious public battle that had millions of astonished viewers glued to their sets. In The War for Late Night, New York Times reporter Bill Carter offers a detailed behind-the-scenes account of the events of the unforgettable 2009/2010 late-night season as all of its players- performers, producers, agents, and network executives-maneuvered to find footing amid the shifting tectonic plates of television culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Heather Havrilesky
Despite its title, The War for Late Night is anything but incendiary…[Carter] traces the strategies and motives of all parties with remarkable empathy…[and] entertains us every step of the way, peppering the page with more rich comedic details than your average late-night monologue…Carter presents an unexpectedly engrossing tale that should engage readers with even the mildest interest in this latest Hollywood battle of wills. He resists getting too ugly, but he still has plenty of fun, providing a nice lesson on restraint for entertainment reporters everywhere.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101443422
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/04/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
469,120
File size:
789 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Bill Carter joined The New York Times as a national media reporter in 1989. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Late Shift, two other books on the television industry, Monday Night Mayhem and Desperate Networks, and has written numerous articles for The New York Times Magazine and other publications. He has been a guest on Nightline, Today, CNN, Charlie Rose, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and many other shows. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he lives in New Jersey with his wife. They have two children.

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