Bill Carter – The War for Late Night


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.

Author: Bill Carter
Narrator: Sean Kenin
Duration: 15 hours 2 minutes
Released: 10 Apr 2011
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Language: English

User Review:

fear distinctive

As a devout fan of late-night TV, I was knocked out by this amazing book and have listened to it twice. Bill Carter gives us a completely fair and unbiased look at the Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien “Tonight Show” feud from the early 2010s. Carter is a master chronicler of the industry (why oh why is his wonderful “The Late Shift” not available on Audible?), and his fascination with the TV medium comes through. Sean Kenin’s reading is riveting, and compliments Carter’s writing perfectly. I recommend any of Bill Carter’s other books about the TV industry as well, including “Top of the Rock” and “Desperate Networks.”