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Download The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy Audiobook, by Bill Carter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,648 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Carter Narrator: Sean Kenin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781101198407
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donkey21 | 2/15/2014

    " I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read about what really went on in the whole Leno/Conan debacle. Carter does a good job being objective, but it didn't convince me to hate Leno any less. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/10/2014

    " Really enjoyed this book. Great insights about the entertainment industry, and some good thoughts on how to manage "talent" personalities, and how (and how not) to introduce change. Fascinated by how the author seemed to be inside the boardroom so much of the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mr. Kim | 2/6/2014

    " The War for Late Night is a fascinating, in-depth look at the debacle that was late night programming at NBC a few years ago. Most of us, from all age groups, know the major players involved, so the story has a much greater visceral impact. Ultimately, what the reader comes away with after reading this account is that when personal relationships take a back seat to business, everyone loses. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eddie McCreary | 2/4/2014

    " A fun read and chock full of details. I wasn't taken with it as much as "The Late Shift", mainly because I was a huge Letterman fan at the time and now I just don't have the time. But it was interesting to see how the landscape has changed and how big executive and still screw things up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/3/2014

    " A well-written expose about the "drama" for 2009/2010 between Leno and Conan. Thing is, it wasn't really a SURPRISING expose. NBC was really a bunch of schmucks for setting the whole thing up over 5 years ago. Anyway, the book does seem to be sympathetic to both Jay and Conan, which surprised me. I was expecting it to favor one over the other, and it doesn't do that. But as I said, NBC was really the "bad guy." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/27/2014

    " Such a pity to have such a nasty game played with people and careers. Evidently, win-win scenarios were never even considered and no one won. Kind of a depressing read to know how miserably some people can behave when it is all about the money. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alyx | 1/16/2014

    " If you followed the story as it unfolded (or heard Carter talk about the book on Bill Simmons' show), this won't provide a ton more insight. If you break it down, this is really a book about the neuroses of tremendously wealthy white guys, so it makes sense if some people just don't care at all . . . especially if the legacy of the Tonight Show holds no interest for you. However, Carter is great at walking us through the players, networks, business jargon, and legalese while remaining fairly objective (although it's clear that Jay Leno is a sad guy and former NBC Universal President/CEO Jeff Zucker really screwed the pooch with the Leno/O'Brien shuffle). He also makes the backdoor deals and meetings seem more vivid than an endless loop of golf games and conference tables. If you're looking for a backstage drama about men flailing at the end of network television, this one reads itself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 1/10/2014

    " It was a bit too long because it added a lot of information that isn't strictly relevant to the story. But still, very entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 1/4/2014

    " Great insight, with lots of juicy details, about the Conan/Leno debacle. The author does a great job of portraying both Jay and Conan as full characters, for better or worse. I still side with Conan, though this book confirmed my suspicions that the whole mess was the fault of the NBC executives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 11/13/2013

    " Not quite as good as his first book about the late night wars, but every bit as thorough. Carter seems to speak to everyone involved and leaves no player without a chance to air grievances, old and new. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edward Han | 11/10/2013

    " Great insight into the personalities and decision-making that influenced late night. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Curt Hopkins Hopkins | 10/25/2013

    " How Carter can make late-night TV and broadcast fights so interesting is marvel enough but to have done it twice is amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Petesea | 10/15/2013

    " Some good background information on Jay, Dave, Conan, Jimmy, etc. A good read, but not too many gotcha kinds of revelations. Makes NBC look very, very foolish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Diller | 7/25/2013

    " Good chronicle of the events surrounding the Conan-Leno debacle. Lots of juicy details that weren't made public at the time, and long analysis of the context of the battle over the Tonight Show. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Goode | 7/10/2013

    " Very engaging tale of the drama that went on behind the war for The tonight show. A must read for any late night fan for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nette | 2/12/2013

    " I don't know how the author did it, but he managed to write a book about the "Tonight Show" debacle without making Jay Leno look like an utter tool. I don't care how unbiased you are, THAT is a big task. Amazing research and crisp, fast-paced prose: I really enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 7/13/2012

    " Good, but I didn't enjoy this quite as much as "Late Shift". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie Brenner | 5/5/2012

    " There was no reason why this book should have been as fascinating as it was -- but I could not put it down. Every bit as good as "The Late Shift" from the 1990s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katyh | 2/12/2012

    " I really loved The Late Shift, so when the whole Leno/O'Brien thing was going down last year, all I could say to anyone was, "Man, I hope Bill Carter writes a sequel." He did, and it was awesome. I can't believe he got all the major players to be so candid. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 12/24/2011

    " An exhaustively thorough telling of the Leno-Conan switcheroo. It was a interesting read, but a little more dirt and a little less description on Studio heads and Executive producers that no one cares about and it would've been much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 6/4/2011

    " Vivid characters, of course. Recalls that snapshot in history when Conan O'Brien hosted "The Tonight Show." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/23/2011

    " This book made me hate Jay Leno. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beau | 5/17/2011

    " Good stuff. Made me want to watch more late night. But I won't. Because I'm not in college anymore and I'm not in a hotel right now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 5/10/2011

    " There was no reason why this book should have been as fascinating as it was -- but I could not put it down. Every bit as good as "The Late Shift" from the 1990s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue (booknbeachbag) | 5/9/2011

    " I enjoyed the book, having seen the battle go on from my bedside TV. I appreciated the story told from the point of view of the network executives as well as how all the other late night hosts fit into the picture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexander | 5/3/2011

    " Well detailed and amazing on how complex the late night wars were... and, ultimately, how pointless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katyh | 5/1/2011

    " I really loved The Late Shift, so when the whole Leno/O'Brien thing was going down last year, all I could say to anyone was, "Man, I hope Bill Carter writes a sequel." He did, and it was awesome. I can't believe he got all the major players to be so candid. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 4/25/2011

    " If you are interested in comedy or late night, this look at the Leno/O'Brien saga is worth the read. Really entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 4/17/2011

    " A fascinating glimpse into the minds of late night giants and behind-the-scene dealings of the Conan debacle. "

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