This “gripping” New York Times bestseller from the host of CNN podcast Behind the Desk tells the true story—and backstage drama—of late-night comedy (Los Angeles Times).
When beloved host Johnny Carson announced his retirement after thirty years on The Tonight Show, millions of Americans mourned. But inside the television industry, the news ignited a battle between two amazing talents—Jay Leno and David Letterman—who both yearned to occupy the departing legend’s chair. For NBC, it would be a decision with millions of dollars at stake. Soon these two comedians with strikingly different styles, who had once shared a friendship as they worked the clubs together, would be engaged in a fierce competition for the prize.
Based on in-depth reporting and interviews with those involved, and updated with a new introduction by the author—a producer of CNN series The Story of Late Night—The Late Shift is a “vivid, behind-the-scenes, blow-by-blow account” of the fight that ensued, as stars, agents, and executives maneuvered for control of the most profitable program in TV history (Chicago Tribune).
“Remarkably gripping . . . Takes us deep into the bizarre high-stakes world of broadcasting . . . A powerful story, and ultimately a sad one, filled with casualties as well as winners.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Solid reporting, based on extensive interviews with the principals, lifts The Late Shift into a class of its own. . . . The insights into the people involved are what make [the book] a page-turner.” —Orange Country Register