Read The Late Shift by Bill Carter Free Online
Book Title: The Late Shift|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 828 KB
v The author of the book: Bill Carter
Edition: Hachette Books
Date of issue: May 4th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780786880898
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The Late Shift:After reading "The War for Late Night," I went back re-read Bill Carter's original book on the late night battle, "The Late Shift."
Although the events of the book are now nearly twenty years old and most of the key figures (aside from Jay and Dave) have either died, left TV, or faded away, it's still a compelling narrative about the business of television and the inherent conflict between programming something "good" vs. programming something that looks good on a spreadsheet.
And it's illuminating to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In both books, NBC has one time slot, the 11:30 pm "Tonight Show," but two stars who wants to host it. And two into one doesn't equal a whole number.
In "The Late Shift," Johnny Carson, the king of late night television for 30 years, is retiring. NBC signed a secret deal with Jay Leno, the permanent guest host of the Tonight Show, some time earlier promising the job to Leno when Carson retires. But what NBC didn't take into consideration is that they already possessed a late night host who had been proving his chops (and earning NBC lots of money) in the person of David Letterman. Letterman hosted the 12:30 am "The Late Night" show for eight years, was considered the heir to Carson's legacy by none other than Carson, and thought the choice was clear: you give the job to the guy who puts out the best show.
But Letterman was (is!) prickly, neurotic, painfully shy, and loved to bash NBC on the air. Leno was (is!) an inveterate people pleaser who tirelessly schmoozed NBC bosses and, more importantly, NBC affiliates around the clock. Yes, Dave was funnier, hipper, and had lots of support in the press. But Jay was nicer. In show business, it's not so much how you do the job, but whether people want to work with you. And the West Coast NBC executives, who made the programming decisions, wanted to work with Jay. Case closed.
Only not so fast. Jay left open several windows for Dave. First, his manager, Helen Kushnick, was a control freak whose behavior became so unprofessional and adversarial that she had be fired. It's interesting reading Carter's take on Helen. Carter makes her out to be a bitch on wheels whose behavior verges on psychotic. However, Ari Emmanuel, Conan's agent in "The War for Late Night," is very well known for behaving exactly the same way: screaming, yelling, throwing tantrums, issuing threats (he's the inspiration for Ari Gold in the HBO series "Entourage.") Yet Ari comes off as a smart, savvy professional in the later book, while Helen is practically a cartoon monster in this one. Sexism is not dead in Hollywood, and this book reads as Exhibit One in how women are perceived vs. men.
Be that as it may, Helen and her shenanigans leave a foul taste in NBC's mouth. Then Jay's ratings come in. They are decent, but not blockbuster. And they would certainly fall and NBC's very lucrative lock on the late night time period would end if another network could field a strong challenger.
Cue the end of Dave's contract with NBC, which would allow him to look for another home.
What happens next is old news to anyone with a television and a pulse. However, Carter tells the story - which is really just a bunch of agents and lawyers and executives sitting around a table and negotiating - with verve and finesse. It's a fast read, thanks to Carter skillful drawing of the characters. Even though the resolution occurred nearly 20 years ago, I was still anxious to learn the outcome of Bill Wright's various wheelings and dealings with Mike Ovitz (what is Ovitz up to these days?) and his own NBC/GE executives.
In addition, since the events in this book still resonant to this day - as evident in Carter's later book - it's a must read for anyone interested in the business of television
Read information about the authorWilliam J. Carter joined The New York Times as a national media reporter in 1989. In addition to his work for the newspaper, Mr. Carter has written numerous articles for The New York Times Magazine, including four cover stories.
Mr. Carter has covered the television industry for over 25 years. From 1975 until 1989, he was a television critic for The Baltimore Sun, writing four to six columns, reports and features per week, as well as a weekly television sports column. From 1973 to 1975, Mr. Carter was assistant foreign editor at The Sun, substituting at times as foreign editor, national editor and news editor.
Mr. Carter's articles have also appeared in TV Guide, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Newsday, Advertising Age, The Washington Journalism Review and Electronic Media.
He has been a guest on many television and radio programs including, 'Nightline,' 'Today,' 'Good Morning America,' 'The Larry King Show,' ESPN Sports Century, and The MSNBC News with Brian Williams.
Mr. Carter is the author of the 1994 best-selling book, 'The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno and the Network Battle for the Night.' He is also the co-author of the 1987 book 'Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC's Monday Night Football.' In 2006, Mr. Carter published the book 'Desperate Networks' a behind-the-scenes story of some of the biggest shows on television.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on August 31, 1949, Mr. Carter received a B.A. degree in English from The University of Notre Dame in 1971 (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude) and an M.A. degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University in 1972. He is married and has two children.
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