The David Letterman Show is a live morning NBC talk show hosted by David Letterman from June 23 to October 24, 1980. The show originally ran for 90 minutes, then 60 minutes from August 4 onward.
A precursor to 1982's Late Night with David Letterman, the show was a critical success but the edgy comedy did not go over well with morning television watchers, more used to talk shows, soap operas, game shows and prime time reruns. The show had replaced the daytime version ofHollywood Squares, High Rollers, and Chain Reaction on NBC's schedule (NBC president Fred Silverman also considered canceling Wheel of Fortuneas well, but he changed his mind upon discovering that the show was in fact one of the highest-rated programs on the network's morning schedule). The program also contained news breaks featuring NBC correspondent Edwin Newman.
The original producer was Bob Stewart, a veteran quiz-show creator who had enlisted Letterman as a panelist on Pyramid from 1978 onward. However, due to creative differences, Stewart left the show four days before its premiere. He was succeeded by H. Barry Sand who remained at the helm for the rest of its run and re-joined David for the first five years of NBC's Late Night with David Letterman. Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers wrote the opening theme of the show.
Behind the scenes were Hal Gurnee directing and Barry Sand producing. The writing staff consisted of Merrill Markoe (head writer), Valri Bromfield,Rich Hall, Gary Jacobs, Harold Kimmel, Edie McClurg, Gerard Mulligan, Paul Raley, Ron Richards, and Letterman.
Familiar bits that became staples of Letterman's comedy on his later shows were originally introduced on this show. They include: "Small Town News", "Stupid Pet Tricks", and an ever-changing non-sequitur opening introduction immediately before Letterman is seen on camera (e.g., "And now, a man whose recipe for triple fudge brownies includes two quarts of vodka sauerkraut and a heaping tablespoon of love...David Letterman!")
Lou Del Prete, was the associate producer, Stephen H. Schwartz, was the creative consultant. Joan Gelman, Christine Lalonde, and Willie Stein were the talent coordinators. Lisbeth Andersonwas the production manager, Terri Guarnier was the unit manager. Francine Bergman was the production coordinator, Cynthia Kayan was the researcher. Kathleen Ankers was the art director,Joyce Hurley was the associate director. Chrissy Frances was the music coordinator.
The production staff consisted of George Callahan, Kim Carney, Lee B. Chernick, Barbara Gaines, Edd Hall, Tim Holton, Brian J. McAloon, Meg Mortimer, Dency Nelson, and David Reale.
The news producer was Alan Mohan, and the news writer was Nick Allen. Bill Kelley was the technical director.
The program was produced by Space Age Meats, a precursor to Letterman's later production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated.