DAVE'S TV BREAKTHROUGH
David calmed his nerves
before his first appearance on the Tonight Show by
perfecting his act. He was so prepared, that he nailed
his act and impressed many NBC Executives. For Dave, this
was a once in a lifetime opportunity to break into the
field that he so desired to be in, Late Night television.
As a result of Dave's performance, he was invited back to
re-appear on the Tonight Show several times.
Dave was offered a job to Guest Host on the Tonight
Show. He must have pinched himself and thought that
he was in a dream. And the NBC Executives kept watching
David's style, wit and professionalism.
So much so, that in 1980, Letterman was asked to host an
Executive Dinner for NBC Exec, Fred Silverman. David
Letterman was offered the job. He pulled through with
shining colors, and had the entire room in stitches
before the evening had ended. And now - David Letterman
was offered his VERY OWN SHOW!
It was June 1980, and Dave's show would debut as a
Daytime Talk Show. Merrill and Dave pitched all of their
ideas to NBC. They wanted to keep the show fresh and
up-to-date. The show would hopefully appeal to the
younger Baby-boomer/Yuppie generation. The college kids
were targeted as well. Merrill was promoted to Producer.
As a result of Merrill's inexperience producing a show,
no one knew exactly what they were doing. This turned out
in itself to be funny. Dave capitalized on the mistakes
by poking fun at them himself. The result was raw, crude
television. The audience just laughed with him at his
mistakes. This must be why he does the same thing on his
show to date. Laughing at one's mistakes usually erases
them in my view! This was a brilliant move on Dave's
The crude humor was hilarious, but NBC found it a little
raw for their liking. So they hired Barry Sand as the
shows producer. Merrill sent Dave on wacky/goofy/ outings
in NYC. This is when Dave started his "pestering the
public" type segments.
The show was so fresh that it was quite crude/unusual at
times - but Letterman and his staff continued on -
learning as they went - and did not falter even when the
show was canceled...