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CBS

The Early Days of The Late Show

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CBS

You likely know the backstory by now. Johnny Carson’s retirement from The Tonight Show in 1992 set off a now-legendary tussle for the hosting chair of that legendary franchise. When Jay Leno won the role, longtime NBC host David Letterman took his act over to CBS to create The Late Show with David Letterman.

The first episode of that show premiered 20 years ago today, with Dave welcoming Bill Murray (who spraypainted “DAVE” across the front of Letterman’s desk), Billy Joel, and a few surprise walk-on guests.

Here is the monologue from that first show, where Letterman jokes about the “intellectual property” of his former network, and even drops a “Buttafuoco”:

Over the years Letterman has had a tendency to pluck everyday residents and business people from the neighborhood around the show’s home at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater and turn them into recurring show characters. Here are a couple examples from the early years.

Rupert at the Hello Deli
The local restaurateur made his first appearance a few weeks after The Late Show’s premiere, and continues to be a recurring character on the show.

Sirajul & Mujibur
After these two souvenir shop employees became fan favorites, Letterman began sending them out across the country on various missions. Sadly, their shop, K&L’s Rock America, went out of business in 2009.

Calvert DeForest
NBC intellectual property restrictions prevented Letterman from bringing one of his most popular characters with him to CBS. So instead, The Late Show just changed the name of the character, Larry “Bud” Melman, to the actor’s real name, Calvert DeForest. Other than that, the character stayed the same. After DeForest passed away in 1997, Letterman paid tribute and showed some classic clips of him in action.

Sorry for any image quality issues with these videos. It was, after all, the early '90s.

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Shout! Factory
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entertainment
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
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Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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CableTV.com
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Pop Culture
America's Favorite Reality Shows, By State
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CableTV.com

From aspiring crooners to housewives looking to settle scores, there are plenty of reality shows out there for every interest. But which ones are currently the most popular? To answer this question, CableTV.com mined Google Trends data to measure the most-watched “real-life” programs in each state. They broke their findings down in the map below.

The results: Residents of sunny California and Arizona are still Keeping Up With the Kardashians, while Texans love Little Women: Dallas. Louisianans can’t get enough of Duck Dynasty and in Utah, viewers are tuning in to Sister Wives.

See which other shows made the cut below, and afterwards, check out CableTV.com’s deep data dive from 2016 to see how our viewing preferences have changed over a year.

A map breaking down each state's favorite reality show, created by the CableTV.com team.
CableTV.com

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