Exactly 30 years ago tonight, Late Night with David Letterman debuted on NBC.
Letterman had hosted a morning show on the peacock network back in 1980 and it was such disappointment that it was pulled after 18 weeks. The network still believed in Letterman though, especially when he started being courted for a syndicated show. He was signed to guest host for his idol on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and it became clear what Letterman should be doing.
In November 1981, the creation of Late Night with David Letterman was announced, produced by Carson productions. This meant that Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Coast to Coast would be moved back an hour but Snyder refused and that show was cancelled in mid-December.
To accompany Letterman on his new show, musician Paul Shaffer was hired to lead a group named The World’s Most Dangerous Band.