‘Late Shift’ Author Bill Carter Sounds Off on NBC’s Woes

Late night was one of the few things working on the Peacock. “And now they’ve blown that up, too,” Carter says

Last Updated: February 11, 2010 @ 12:42 PM

Bill Carter may be offering a little preview of his upcoming follow-up book to "The Late Shift."

The New York Times reporter and late-night historian pulled no punches Thursday in his assessment of the post-primetime madness.

"This is the worst screw-up, the worst pile-up I’ve seen," Carter said in a video segment on the Times’ website. "Because it involves a network really in shambles already. And the one thing they had going for them was late night. And now they’ve blown that up, too."

When pressed by Times media editor Bruce Headlam on how bad things are, Carter was blunt. "They have ‘The Today Show’ and ‘The Tonight Show,’ two franchises," he said. "And the ‘Today’ show is the only one they haven’t screwed up."

Carter said NBC executives "for months" had been privately saying they "were worried about Conan, that he wasn’t expanding the audience."

Overall, Carter seemed amazed at how quickly the Peacock appears to have fallen.

"NBC is the definer of late-night television," he said. "This was their home and they’ve blown it to pieces. They were going to move ‘The Tonight Show’ to after midnight! It’s like they had no belief in their own heritage."

The Times doesn’t appear to allow embeddable video, so you can check out the full interview with Carter here.

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