Stars: Daniel Roebuck, Jr. Ed Begley, Kathy Bates, Bob Balaban
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Talk-Show
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 102 minutes
Loyalties ran deep. People were polarized. And, for a while, folks followed it in the news with bated breath. No, it wasn't an election year; it was the battle for late-night television, bitterly fought by Jay Leno and David Letterman. Even before Johnny Carson retired, Letterman and Leno were jockeying for The Tonight Show. Letterman had a proven record, but at a later time slot, with an edgier crowd. Leno had the guest-host position and the support of the network. HBO dramatizes the struggle for the 11 p.m. slot in The Late Shift, a made-for-cable movie that reveals the seedier side of talk television. Kathy Bates gives a hysterical--both in the funny and the manic sense--performance as Leno's manager. John Michael Higgens is a convincing Letterman and Daniel Roebuck (with mounds of latex on his chin) gets the Leno voice right. And while the studio execs and agents (played humorously by Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Treat Williams, among others) appear as sharks, both Leno and Letterman come off sympathetically. Even though the outcome is well known, The Late Shift is an entertaining look at the craziness that is late-night TV. --Jenny Brown
Peter, I know Dave's circumstances, and so I know why you're here. Dave is a star of such compelling stature that frankly it makes me personally angry he finds himself disabused. We pride ourselves here at CAA in developing a carrer plan for our clients that protects them as much as it enriches them. David has such incredibly high professional standards that his going disturbingly unrewarded, that just doesn't make any sense, it's simply bad business practice. Obviously, we have an interest in establishing a business relationship with you Dave, and you Peter. Frankly, we have worked out a career plan for David, and it includes securing for Dave what he wants, EVERYTHING. Of course that means an 11:30 television show. Dave will be offered an 11:30 show, and he will be offered it by every network. Geometry of the deal will be far larger, the studios will be in, the syndicators, the full range of the entertainment industry. We shall frame a deal that will make you one of the giants. And if you give us the privilege of working with you, CAA will take care of everything your talents deserve, and our spirit desires.