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The David Letterman Show
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TV Series
    (June 23, 1980-October 24, 1980)
    Aired on NBC
    Hosted by David Letterman
    Morning talk show
    Lasted 90 minutes, reduced to 60 minutes after August 4
    The original producer, game show vet Bob Stewart, quit four days before the first episode aired over ‘creative differences.’
    Rich Hall, one of the writers, admitted, ‘Nobody really knew what they were doing.’
    Letterman’s often sarcastic humor did not play well to the AM audience.
    After about a month, several NBC affiliates dropped the show and aired sitcom reruns in its slot.
    After the show was cancelled, Letterman complained to Merrill Markoe (the head writer and his girlfriend), ‘If it wasn’t for you and your crazy ideas, I’d still have a talk show like John Davidson.’
    Letterman won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Variety Show Host, which helped convince NBC execs that he merely needed an appropriate vehicle for his talents.
    Several popular Late Night bits – including Stupid Pet Tricks, Small Town News, and Viewer Mail – originated on this show.
    Letterman owned the rights to this show; thus, he was able to ignore NBC’s ‘intellectual property’ claims and take those sketches with him to The Late Show.

Credit: C. Fishel

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