The Late Show (1986 TV series)

The Late Show (1986 TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = The Late Show

show_name_2 = "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers"
genre = Comedy / Talk Show / Variety
creator =
writer = Monty Aidem
Hank Bradford
Stan Burns
Londos D'Arrigo
Wayne Kline
Toem Perew
Michael Prescott
Daniel Rosen
Dennis Snee
Levi Taylor
Patric Verrone
director =
creative_director =
developer = Fox Television Network
presenter =
starring = Joan Rivers
Arsenio Hall
Ross Shafer
Suzanne Somers
Richard Belzer
Robert Townsend
voices =
narrated = Clint Holmes
Daniel Rosen
theme_music_composer = Mark Hudson
Michael Sembello
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer = Jay Richard Kennedy
country = USA
language = English
num_seasons =
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
executive_producer = Edgar Rosenberg
co_exec = Howard Bolter
producer =
supervising_producer =
asst_producer =
co-producer =
editor = Wanda Armstrong (assistant editor)
Jay Richard Kennedy (music editor)
story_editor =
location =
cinematography =
camera =
runtime = 60 minutes (including commercials)
network = FOX
picture_format = Color
audio_format =
first_run =
first_aired = October 6, 1986
last_aired = October 28, 1988
preceded_by =
followed_by =
related = "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"
"The Arsenio Hall Show"
website =
production_website =
imdb_id = 0199237
tv_com_id = 3229

"The Late Show" was an American late night talk show and the first series broadcast on the then-fledgling Fox Network. Originally hosted by comic actress Joan Rivers, it first aired on October 9, 1986, under the title "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers".


The talk show was a direct attempt at competing against NBC's seminal "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson", and in fact Rivers had been for the previous few years the permanent guest host on "Tonight", substituting for Carson.

Many in 1986, including top executives at NBC, thought it was possible that Johnny Carson would retire after reaching his 25th anniversary on October 1, 1987, since it was such a logical cut-off point.

In the spring of 1986, a confidential memo between top NBC executives, listing about 10 possible replacements in the event of Carson's retirement the next year, was leaked. When Rivers saw it, she was shocked to see that she was nowhere on the list, despite the fact that she had been "The Tonight Show"'s permanent guest host since 1983.

Another rumor is that soon after, when Carson decided to stay beyond 1987, NBC offered him a three-year contract extension, but only offered Rivers a one-year extension as guest host.

Rivers and Carson become estranged

FOX was looking for a host for a late night talk show for the network's launch in October 1986 and offered Rivers the job at an increase in pay over her NBC salary. She accepted. Carson was blindsided by the news when he saw the press conference on television. Moments later, when Rivers called him at home, he refused to take the call.

Rivers was adamant that her problem was with NBC and not with Carson, who was like a father figure to her. She stated that she didn't want to tell him before the announcement was made because she was afraid FOX would cancel the deal if word leaked out.

Carson was furious. With other proteges who competed against him, such as David Brenner, Alan Thicke, Joey Bishop, and Pat Sajak, Carson always had them on "The Tonight Show" beforehand to wish them luck, and again after he decimated them in the ratings and their shows were canceled. Carson said he felt betrayed by Rivers not because she dared to compete with him, but because she wasn't honest with him beforehand about her intentions and didn't ask him for advice and for his blessing.

Rivers spoke highly of Carson the night he died, January 23, 2005, but she revealed that he never spoke to her again. She also maintained that she handled things the right way by not telling Carson of her plans ahead of time.

agging ratings and Joan Rivers' departure

After a moderate start, ratings for the talk show soon sagged, and the behind-the-scenes relations between Rivers and network executives at FOX quickly eroded, and she left the show in 1987. In 1987 and 1988, the show was renamed "The Late Show" and featured several hosts including Arsenio Hall, Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Richard Belzer and Robert Townsend before it was canceled in 1988.

The name "The Late Show" was revived by CBS in 1993 for "The Late Show With David Letterman".

See also

*List of late night network TV programs


External links

* [,8816,962773,00.html The Late Nightlife Tonight Show]

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