Bates tapped for film on talk-show war


HBO announced yesterday that Kathy Bates and two unknowns will star in "Late Shift," a film about the backstage battle between David Letterman and Jay Leno to succeed Johnny Carson as host of the "Tonight Show" on NBC.

The film is based on the book by New York Times television reporter Bill Carter, formerly of The Baltimore Sun, who also wrote the HBO screenplay.

Ms. Bates will play Helen Kushnick, Mr. Leno's former manager. Daniel Roebuck will play Mr. Leno, while John Michael Higgins will portray Mr. Letterman. Mr. Higgins and Mr. Roebuck were both described as "stand-up comics and actors" by Betty Thomas, who will direct the film.

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