Jay Leno

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jay Leno

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Bullseye
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Jay Leno

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Jay Leno on the late night wars, and spending decades on The Tonight Show, and Jay Leno's Garage

We're joined by one of the biggest TV hosts in the history of TV hosts: Jay Leno! He'll chat about his career that spans almost 45 years.

He's been spending his time in what could be his retirement working on his TV show for CNBC called Jay Leno's Garage. The show is in its fifth season. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're really into weird , old-school cars. He's still a disarming interview, still charming and still quick on his feet.

By his own admission, Jay says he never got much love from critics. He got cast, more or less, as the villain in the late night battles with Letterman and Conan. He'll open up about those late night wars in this in-depth interview.

Jay also reflects on his childhood and how that's influenced his comedy. From sleeping in alleys on the streets of New York, to hosting The Tonight Show for decades. It's truly a remarkable story, and we hope you'll join us.

Bill Carter, author of The War for Late Night: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Carter

Bill Carter is the author of two books about the politics and people of late night television, and a media reporter for the New York Times.

His most recent book is The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy, a behind-the-scenes look at the Sturm und Drang of the late night wars over Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and The Tonight Show.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest, Bill Carter, is the national media reporter for the New York Times. He’s also made a name of himself as a chronicler of late night television programming. His first book, The Late Shift, was a best-selling story of the battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman for the Tonight Show. His latest book, The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy, is the story of the improbable second act of that drama in which Leno fought it out with Conan O’Brien for that most coveted of television programs. Bill, welcome to The Sound of Young America, it’s great to have you on the show.

BILL CARTER: It’s great to be with you, Jesse.

JESSE THORN: Bill, tell me why this battle keeps happening. What is it that’s so important about this institution of The Tonight Show?

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.

The Alumni Newsletter: December 7th, 2010

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