Letterman's set already being demolished

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    Less than 24 hours after the final show – parts of the set are headed for the dump.


    As little as I care, I still find it difficult to believe parts of the set are “going to the dump.” Pretty much anything off of that set would fetch dollars of some sort on eBay. I’m surprised that CBS or someone from Letterman’s production company hasn’t gathered all of that stuff up for a charity auction or something similar.


    Ah, the Daily News, always a source of believable news.


    Only “skeptical” could bring politics into a non-politics thread. Fail.


    Finally the number one son of Carson has retired.

    Were now in a new era of Carson Clones.


    Rob sez: “Only “skeptical” could bring politics into a non-politics thread. Fail.”

    Facts aren’t “political” unless you’re a Republican, then they become pesky things that are best overlooked for the greater good of the party.

    Clearly you’re a Republican because you uttered “politics” without realizing my comments had nothing to do with politics. Michele Bachmann is proud of you Rob!


    “Were now in a new era of Carson Clones”

    No, we’re not. The Carson format died the day he retired. The closest thing to a “Carson clone” was Jay Leno and each time he filmed a sketch outside the studio, he drove another nail into the Carson coffin. If anything, they’re Letterman clones, they’re dying, too. All eyes are on Stephen Colbert.


    The closest thing to a “Carson clone” was Jay Leno

    Total, complete and utter Bullshit.
    That weasel wasn’t worthy of licking Carson’s ballsack.


    Doesn’t surprise me that the Letterman set is being scrapped. Not that Letterman isn’t an important late-night host – he did reinvent the Carson/Parr/Allen late night format – but I can’t think of any part of his set that is iconic…his desk maybe? The NY skyline mockup behind the desk? The fake panes of glass he would “shatter” when tossing index cards? Beyond that, what is memorable about his set? Or just maybe, the cast and crew picked it over and there is no more to be had.

    If you do a Wiki search of “Ed Sullivan Theater” you’ll find that his set is kind of built over the top of the original stage and seating, which must be preserved for historical preservation reasons. The new Colbert set will likely have a radically different look, so they have to tear the entire Letterman stage and set out and start all over. That’s probably what is going in the dumpster.

    EDIT ADD: Agree with Amus, Leno was no Carson. In fact, I can’t think of any late night hosts that even get close to Carson – and that’s not really the fault of any of his successors. Carson existed in a different time and place, with only three networks, 1 AM signoffs and only one late-night show. By the time he retired we had a world of cable and broadcast channels that ran 24/7, fracturing the audience (and communal connectivity) that once only belonged to Johnny. Because of this, there has not been and cannot ever be another Carson.


    Totally agreed on Carson. He’s a product of his own talents and the times.

    Frankly, I was moved by all the great responses and well wishes to Dave. IMHO, he’s that last link between the Carson times and today. Going forward, we will remember, but those times are all the way gone.

    Lots of people were shaped by those times and we see them today.

    Colbert. I’m excited to see what he does. In a way, he’s a bridge from old to new. What will “new” be like?

    All eyes are on Colbert because a lot of us think the “new”, whatever that turns out to be, is in Colbert.


    Colbert has to erase the faux conservative character called “Steven Colbert” and introduce us to the real Steven Colbert. That’s what will be interesting about his new late night gig. He’s going to have to reign in a lot of the edgier work he did on cable and soften it for CBS.

    Fallon and Kimmel had spent lots of time in traditional network television before becoming hosts, so they know the language of broadcast TV. I hope Colbert knows it too, and has a successful run.


    I think everyone makes some good points here, but the truth is the TV late night talk show has been evolving and changing since the beginning. Steve Allen was the original host of The Tonight Show in the 50’s and back then it wasn’t really a talk show as much as a late night variety show, with Steve providing a lot of the variety. When Jack Paar took over it became a real talk show with a mix of serious and non-serious guests. Johnny Carson seem to hit the nail right on the head for his era, but as someone else pointed out, by the late 80’s TV was fragmenting away from the three big networks. Why did he have such a bad taste for Joan Rivers at the end? Because she dared to compete against him on a young Fox network.

    So the evolution continues. Today we have the two Jimmy’s. Fallon and Kimmel. Don’t forget Conan, who believe it or not is much older than the Jimmy’s. But his show still aims young. Colbert will definitely be a “we’ll see”.

    As for Letterman, he did change the scene, but he will tell you that it was his writers that changed it, not him.


    “Total, complete and utter Bullshit.
    That weasel wasn’t worthy of licking Carson’s ballsack.”

    Of course he wasn’t worthy, but of all the post-Carson folks, Leno IS the the closest. Monologues that everyone gets, A-list actors, hot celebrities, and softball questions. Yawn. Like Carson, you’re never really still tuned in (or awake) when the midnight hour strikes since all the real magic was used up in the first 10 minutes.

    Not so with Letterman (cranky), Conan (zany), Craig Ferguson (bizarro) — you could get a bit more. But these attributes didn’t come from Carson.


    Carson was the absolute best because, IMO, he was MADE for that gig. Not to say that others aren’t adequate at it, but Carson’s extremely dry, self-depreciating humor was perfect. His rapport with Ed and Doc was way over anything else that has tried. His rapport with the audience, with those watching at home, there was a connection that nobody else has had.

    Jay Leno, to me, was unwatchable from the very beginning. I know he is a really good guy outside of show business, but he comes across as smug, and completely unfunny.

    Letterman lost something over the years, to me. He also came across as pompous.

    All have the A-list guests. All have that in common. Carson connected with them, though, in a way that nobody else did.


    Carson did two things very well: he schmoozed with the A-listers as if he was one of them (which he was), and he also chatted with the common folks that he would have on as guests as if he was one of them – which at heart, he also was.

    I never thought Leno was terrible, but he never wore the job of late-night host comfortably like Carson did. Leno invited guests to the set; Carson invited friends. Leno found average people peculiar and buffoonish (“Jaywalking”); Carson found them interesting, engaging and charming. Leno never met a skit that didn’t hate him; Carson saw skits as playtime, and had a ball with them. Carson owned The Tonight Show; Leno never really did, and always seemed a little amazed that he was there.

    I still say that for these reasons and more, Carson has to remain the king of (for lack of a better term) the Golden Age of Late Night – now a closed category. Leno can only be compared to his peers in the current Silver Age of Late Night. With competition like Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, O’Brien, Letterman and Stewart, Leno will have to fight for the crown.

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