Inside The Wheelhouse: Worst Late Night TV Decisions

David Letterman & Crispin GloverLet me start off by saying there is way more than five things to choose from for the Worst Decisions in Late Night TV. And this is not a blog to “laundry list” all the things that have ever been wrong with Late Night TV. This is just how I see the awful, retarded, ball-less, chicken-sh*t decision that NBC has made taking a talent (and I , unlike many other radio people, use that term conservatively) like Conan O’Brien off of their network only to shore up a better lead in for local news and shore up the “Alzheimer’s Patient’s Favorite” Jay Leno to continue hacky, poorly delivered jokes to the masses….of old who are dying quickly.

I’ll save my opinion of how Conan’s trials will effect the never-changing world of “safe” programming for a later discussion. And let me be absolutely honest with you, dear readers, while I believe that choosing Jay over Conan is and was a bad decisions, the following rival it.


Holy Christ! What the hell happened here? I get that before and during the “Back To The Future” days, this guy was someone that should be interviewed in order to promote what would be the worlds unfunny and disinteresting trilogy in the history of film making (Whoops, forgot about “Beverly Hills Cop”). But what agent/PR/representation would allow Crispin Glover to come off his meds for 24 hours enough to make an ass out of himself like this? Years down the road, should there be a study and consequential abnormal brain disease that is named after Crispin Glover, I’m all over mandatory abortion.


The only thing worse than someone TRYING to be “edgy” or “shocking”, is doing it poorly. Shocking and edgy only works if it is real. A real reaction to a set of circumstances. Saying what you feel, how you feel at that very moment. No holds barred, no filter in place. Staged edge and fabricated shock is lame. Marylin Manson tearing the fabric off Leno’s Tonight Show chair with his teeth, using his forked tongue to remove the stuffing, and then banging it like it was a confused and picked on 14 year old boy…I believe it. Bobcat Goldthwait breaking out the lighter fluid to set the chair on fire…hard to argue that it was a natural reaction.


My only hope for the former MTV executive-tool who decided that Jon Stewart wasn’t ready to host a late night talk show against Letterman and Leno, is that while in their chemo induced coma, they are forced to listen to “The Daily Show” on continuous loops. If he came out of that coma, he might be able to use one of those blink reading computers to tell us that Jon was a “…talent ahead of his time.” Tell that to Comedy Central and Craig Kilborn.


I came late to this Late Night TV Debacle. IN fact I didn’t hear about this missing tape until after 2000. I wish I could recall which comedian had told me about this set and the fact that it was the ONLY time Letterman had ever removed a portion of his shows taping. Write it off to Letterman and producers being concerned about religious jokes. what doesn’t make this #1 in my book is that at the beginning of last year (and as seen in this clip), Letterman had Hicks’ Mother on as he aired the “banned” clip. Some 16 years too late for Bill to see it aired.

…and the #1 Worst Decision In Late Night TV…


How could putting an athlete in a starring role on Television go poorly? Add in a good, but watered down comedian sidekick (Craig Shoemaker – who was fired for publicly calling the show “…an absolute nightmare…”), a washed up Prince-Ho band leader (Sheila E) and – later – Tommy Davidson…just hearing that makes my eyes want to commit suicide. Magic’s very loose grasp on the English language made me want to shoot myself in my ear-holes to put them out of their misery.


Bad? True. The worst Late Night Show ever? Probably. But “The Magic Hour” aired for 3 months. The bastardization of television known as “The Pat Sajak Show” went on for over a year and “The Dennis Miller Show” was weekends only. Chevy lasted 5 weeks. Bad decision, yes. But like my former employers at EA SPORTS say: fail fast, fail hard.

NEXT WEEK: Why NBC just screwed creative programming for the future.

Bower is the co-host for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

You can visit The Wheelhouse’s official website where you can download “high quality” shows and see all the latest happenings with the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow Bower on twitter by visiting his page at www.twitter.com/thebowershow & you can follow Wheelhouse Radio! on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @ [email protected]

Check out the book The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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