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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
11:06 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel: Making Late Night A Family Affair

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel interviews Mel Brooks on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Randy Holmes ABC

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 12:16 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 29, 2013.

This year, Jimmy Kimmel's late-night ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, joined the 11:35 p.m. nightly lineup — which put him in direct competition with two reining comedy kings: Jay Leno and Kimmel's idol, David Letterman.

Kimmel, who paid tribute to Letterman at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, didn't break the news to Letterman himself.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
12:53 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Conan's 'Uphill Climb' To Late-Night Throne

Conan O'Brien interviews Bruce Willis in a 2005 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 12:57 pm

Conan O'Brien has probably had the most unusual career trajectory of any current late-night host. When he joined NBC's Late Night in 1993, replacing David Letterman, he had virtually no on-air experience. He did, however, have comedy-writing chops: O'Brien edited the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon as a student, then wrote for Saturday Night Live and was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.

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Fresh Air Theme Week: Late Night TV
10:38 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jay Leno: 'Tonight' Was About 'Trying To Get Johnny To Laugh'

Jay Leno delivers the opening monologue during the inauguration of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 25, 1992.
Craig Fujii AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 12:53 pm

In 1992, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he was already a familiar presence, having served as one of Carson's regular substitute hosts. Despite that experience, Leno's first few years on Tonight were rocky.

"When he started, when he was up against Letterman, Letterman beat him for the first couple of years," critic David Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But once Leno came ahead, he was unstoppable. He never lost that audience."

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Television
12:19 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Letterman And 'Tonight' Vet Go Behind The Scenes Of Late Night

David Letterman, pictured here in January 1982, premiered Late Night With David Letterman just a few months after his Fresh Air interview.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 9:43 am

Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'World's End,' Robin Thicke And The 'Sports Gene'

Martin Freeman (from left), Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan star as five old high school friends who reunite to finish an epic pub crawl in The World's End, directed by Edgar Wright.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 10:32 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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