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Behind the Desk: The Story of Late Night

More than 60 years ago, the creation of late night TV changed the face of television forever. From Johnny Carson, to David Letterman, to Arsenio Hall, the late night show format continues to endure, evolving to keep pace each new generation. In Behind the Desk: The Story of Late Night host Bill Carter takes us on a journey through late night television’s most memorable moments with first-hand, behind-the-scenes accounts from some of the most notable names in late night history. 

Behind the Desk: The Story of Late Night is a companion podcast to CNN’s Original Series, The Story of Late Night.

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The Format
Behind the Desk: The Story of Late Night
Apr 22, 2021

The monologue, the desk, the guests, the band. The ingredients of the late night TV formula are familiar, yet fickle. Get them just right and a show can last for decades. Make one mistake and your career is over – fast. In this episode, we explore the alchemy that turns a late night TV show into ratings and social media gold. Jimmy Kimmel, Desus & Mero, David Letterman producer and co-creator of The Daily Show co-creator Madeleine Smithberg, Tonight Show regular Byron Allen and more give us insights into the hardships of mastering the formula perfected by Johnny Carson.