Saturday, March 6, 2010


Joan Rivers' comic sensibility is like a sawed-off shotgun wrapped in sequins.Today, she delivers comic body slams to the ultra-glam who parade on Hollywood's most exclusive red carpets.

In 1986, Rivers had two Herculean tasks to confront.A Second City alum and stand-up icon,she was the first woman to host her own, late night, network talk show. Well, not quite a network show, because THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS was on FOX. It was the program with which Barry Diller, the legendary programmer with an allegedly incendiary temper, was going to launch the FOX broadcasting company. Critics waited to see if Rivers could shatter Late Night's glass ceiling, while pioneering the first new,national, broadcast network America has seen since the demise of DuMont, 30 years earlier.

On October 6, 1986, following a network ID for FBC ( now simply branded FOX)THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS debuted from a newly renovated, cavernous studio at FOX TELEVISION CENTER in Los Angeles. She was given a three year, 15 million dollar contract to launch a network and light up the night for FOX.There was voluminous publicity surrounding the premiere of the show. Not all of it was good. There was a deep,vitriolic rift with the king of late night, Johnny Carson.

Rivers, born Joan Alexandra Molinsky to Russian immigrant parents, had been a welcome guest on THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON for years. Rivers called Carson her mentor. After years of her doing stand-up routines and chatting on the couch,Carson named Rivers as his permanent, substitute host on the NBC,late night franchise.When he discovered that she was going to leave and compete with him, they became estranged and ,reportedly, they never reconciled.

THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS lasted only 20 months on the burgeoning FOX Network.

With low ratings, Rivers was removed in May of 1987. Guests hosts such as Dennis Miller and Arsenio Hall, both of whom would later return to the late shift in syndication, filled in , until FOX attempted topical satire with the abortive WILTON-NORTH REPORT.

The network finally ceded the timeslot to anxious affiliates.

From 1989 to 1994, many of the same FOX stations carried Arsenio's hip, syndicated talk fest. Today, the hottest rumor in media is that Peacock Ex-patriot Conan O'Brien will join FOX with a new,Late Night show in the fall of this year.

But, here, from the DESSURES, YOU TUBE site is the first 8:13 of THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS. ENJOY!!!!!!

As a bonus, from that same and surreal, premiere episode of THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS,here is Joan Rivers' interview with guest, Pew Wee Herman.ENJOY!!!!!

Bonus, number 2 is Arsenio Hall saying goodbye after his 13 week stint as host of THE LATE SHOW WITH ARSENIO HALL. Notice how the music, look and ambiance of the show changed with the host. Enjoy!!!!!

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