The War for Late Night by Bill Carter
When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Bill Carter

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Bill Carter is the author of Red Summer: The Danger, Madness, and Exaltation of Salmon Fishing in a Remote Alaskan Village and Fools Rush In: A True Story of Love, War, and Redemption. He has written for Rolling Stone, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other publications.
 
Published November 4, 2010 by Plume. 432 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The War for Late Night

The New York Times

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Through exhaustive research and interviews with the major players, Bill Carter’s book “The War for Late Night” tells the story of the Conan O’Brien-Jay Leno battle.

Dec 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

Examiner

When NBC kept Jay on the network at 10PM weeknights and that show failed enormously, to keep him they proposed giving him a show at 11:35 for a half-hour, pre-empting Conan's "Tonight Show".

Dec 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

Book Reporter

No, the drama of that moment was the battle over the fate of Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and the venerable institution known as “The Tonight Show.” Fifteen years after THE LATE SHIFT, his chronicle of the bloody cage match between Leno and David Letterman to succeed Johnny Carson, New York Times repo...

Jan 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

AV Club

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A network in a bind and two men at opposing comedic poles provide grist for Bill Carter’s mill in The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early And Television Went Crazy, whose release concurrent with Conan O’Brien’s return to television cannot be coincidental.

Nov 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

Entertainment Weekly

Ever since The Late Shift, his 1995 best-seller about Jay Leno and David Letterman’s fight for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show desk, journalist Bill Carter has periodically come under fire for his cozy relationship with NBC and its outgoing CEO Jeff Zucker, who’s given Carter an unusual amount of ac...

Nov 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

USA Today

Memoir: The 1980s pop star and actor looks back on his professional and personal highs and lows.

Oct 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

North Jersey

The reader is made privy to the scramble by Zucker and his minions to figure how to restore Leno to late night, find a consolation prize that O'Brien would accept, and placate affiliate stations, which were up in arms as the ratings for their late newscasts began to shrink in the company of "The ...

Nov 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Dan Herman The War for Late Night by Bill Carter The War for Late Night by Bill Carter

Nov 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The War for Late Night: When ...

Reader Rating for The War for Late Night
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