The Late Shift

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The Late Shift ★★½ 1996 (R)

Cable adaptation of Bill Carter's book chronicling the follies surrounding NBC's “The Tonight Show” succession battle between Jay Leno (Roebuck) and Dave Letterman (Higgins). It's the behind-the-scenes dealmakers that really steal the show, however, including Jay's profane manager Helen Kushnick (Bates) and superagent Michael Ovitz (Williams), who ultimately orchestrated Dave's move to rival CBS. Both Letterman and Leno made the movie/book fodder for their opening monlogues. 96m/C VHS, DVD . Daniel Roebuck, John Michael Higgins, Kathy Bates, Treat Williams, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Rich Little, Sandra Bernhard, Peter Jurasik, Reni Santoni, John Kapelos, John Getz, Lawrence Pressman; D: Betty Thomas; W: Bill Carter, George Armitage; C: Mac Ahlberg; M: Ira Newborn. CABLE