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      The Late Shift

      R 1996 1h 35m Drama List
      Reviews 57% Audience Score 500+ Ratings David Letterman (John Michael Higgins) vies with Jay Leno (Daniel Roebuck) and his manager (Kathy Bates) to succeed Johnny Carson, retiring from "The Tonight Show." Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      The Late Shift

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      Critics Reviews

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      David Nusair Reel Film Reviews Filmmaker Betty Thomas takes a decidedly inside-baseball approach to the subject matter... Rated: 2.5/4 Jan 9, 2016 Full Review Film Threat Rated: 3/5 Jan 9, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      KB B I thought this was really well done and learned quite a few things about the situation. I'd heard that Leno's agent was a real bulldog but she was a complete bully and Kathy Bates was superb as usual playing the part. It's definitely worth the watch. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 11/03/23 Full Review Audience Member I think portraying a president convincingly would be easier than portraying a late night talk show host or someone else who is on television daily for decades. After that, there was only one character that was outstanding or even memorable and that just made the whole thing confusing since you think it's going to be about Letterman and Leno so, aside from feeling flat, I had no idea what it was in the last 35-45 minutes. Watching a rerun of either late night talk show would have been more entertaining. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review jon c Who gets the late shift on late night television? The one who's the funniest. Based on the book by Bill Carter and directed by Betty Thomas. This is a comedic take on the true story of the fight between Jay Leno and David Letterman for the ultimate talk show. CBS is talking about the next live show host; Letterman is owned by NBC and Leno is hot in the ratings. Someone's gotta take over for Johnny Carson so it'll be a bloody battle for airtime. A brilliant cast of John Michael Higgins, Daniel Roebuck, Treat Williams, Ed Begely Jr, and Kathy Bates. It's a lot of handheld camera techniques almost like a documentary. If you're not a fan of the conversations this won't interest you. But it's fascinating to look at the world of late show television and who deserves to get the better slates. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member 1995: the movie is based on the book of the same name, written by New York Times reporter Bill Carter. Johnny Carson was considering retirement from the Tonight Show, and both Jay Leno and David Letterman wanted to be Johnny's replacement. The NBC brass do a secret agreement with Leno's no-nonsense, ball-breaking agent Helen Kushnick before Johnny's actual retirement announcement, but chaos ensues after Johnny makes it official. Leno gets the gig, but eventually, NBC tires of Kushnick's control and ponders if Letterman should have been chosen. Good HBO-produced film, the acting is generally great, especially the usually outstanding Kathy Bates as Kushnick. John Michael Higgins is solid as Letterman, but Daniel Roebuck is underwhelming as Leno. Rich Little does his wonderful Carson impression. Not sure how accurate this story is, but it is a lot of fun to watch the backstabbing and behind-the-door dealing. Stars: Kathy Bates, John Michael Higgins, Daniel Roebuck, Bob Balaban, Treat Williams, and Rich Little. Directed by Betty Thomas. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/12/23 Full Review Audience Member interesting. peter lasally is fascinating. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/05/19 Full Review Audience Member It's fine, I guess, and it definitely screams TV movie. Higgins is actually pretty great as Letterman, but Roebuck as Leno, uh, not so much. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/03/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Late Shift

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      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis David Letterman (John Michael Higgins) vies with Jay Leno (Daniel Roebuck) and his manager (Kathy Bates) to succeed Johnny Carson, retiring from "The Tonight Show."
      Betty Thomas
      Don Carmody
      Production Co
      Home Box Office (HBO), Northern Lights Entertainment
      R, TV-14
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jun 11, 2016
      1h 35m
      Sound Mix
      Most Popular at Home Now