TELEVISION: STUPID NETWORK TRICKS

THE WAR OVER LETTERMAN AND LENO IS REFOUGHT IN A TV MOVIE. BUT IN REAL LIFE, THE ENDING IS DIFFERENT

IN RETROSPECT, IT SEEMS A STRANGE cultural aberration. Or maybe a temporary virus. For a couple of years there, David Letterman was the toast of television. After toiling in the wee hours for more than a decade, the host of NBC's Late Night had been passed over for the job as Johnny Carson's successor on the Tonight Show. But he parlayed that slight into a lucrative new contract at CBS and his own 11:30 p.m. show to compete with Jay Leno. The crowds that jammed his studio audience gave him standing ovations every night; his Top 10 lists became a national...

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