The Story of Late Night, a six-part docuseries, is coming to CNN, and the network is launching a companion podcast alongside it. The show will premiere Sunday, May 2 at 9 pm, followed by the return of United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell at 10 p.m.
The Story of Late Night, which comes from Cream Productions, looks at late-night television’s most memorable moments over the past 60 years. It explores how the genre engaged with, adapted to and influenced society.
It features archival footage of late-night legends Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and David Letterman, alongside interviews with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Handler, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, James Corden, Amber Ruffin, Desus & Mero, Whoopi Goldberg and W. Kamau Bell, as well as behind-the-scenes decision-makers including Lorne Michaels and Jeff Zucker.
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The first episode will cover Steve Allen’s Tonight turn and look at how Carson transformed late-night television. Other episodes will include Letterman’s rise, the battle between Letterman and Leno, and the rise of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
The extended finale will also cover the present day and how the hosts dealt with President Trump and confronted Covid-19.
CNN Audio is also launching a companion podcast that goes even deeper into the world of late-night television. Hosted by CNN contributor and former New York Times media reporter Bill Carter, the Behind the Desk: Story of Late Night podcast, which comes from Cream and CNN Audio, will launch its first two episodes April 22 with subsequent episodes every Thursday.
The Story of Late Night is exec produced by David Brady, Kate Harrison Karman, John Ealer and Carter for Cream Productions and Amy Entelis and Lizzie Fox for CNN Original Series. The Behind the Desk podcast is executive produced by Megan Marcus for CNN Audio, along with Carter, Johnny Kalangis, Brady and Karman for Cream Productions.
“I’ve covered late-night TV for a long time, long enough to know it’s filled with fascinating personalities, big moments, big laughs, all kinds of conflicts, characters, craziness and compelling stories,” said Carter. “In our docuseries and our accompanying podcast, we’re going to take a deep dive into all of that–and have a lot of fun doing it.”
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