Peter Lassally

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Peter Lassally talks about his early years and his family fleeing Germany during World War II. He describes his first jobs in broadcasting at WOR and as a page at NBC. He recounts his time working with Arthur Godfrey and scouting talent for him. Lassally recalls going to work for Johnny Carson and talks about the many aspects of producing The Tonight Show,  including booking and briefing guests and splitting producer duties with Fred De Cordova. He outlines his personal and professional relationship with Carson, and speaks of Carson's retirement in 1992. Lassally talks about his involvement in starting The Late Show With David Letterman for CBS, and producing The Late Late Show with hosts Tom Snyder, Craig Kilborn, and Craig Ferguson. The interview concludes with Lassally offering advice to aspiring talk show hosts and producers, and discussing how he'd like to be remembered. Beth Cochran conducted the interview on February 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

"The most important thing for a talk show host is to listen. If they don't listen they're going to miss great opportunities. Try to make the guest look good, not necessarily make yourself look good."  

Highlights
Peter Lassally on going to work for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
02:51
Peter Lassally on booking guests for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:12
Peter Lassally on his involvement in sketches and other elements of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:49
Peter Lassally on leaving The Late Show with David Letterman  to produce The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder
03:21
Peter Lassally on how his German family was affected by World War II
02:57
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on how his family was affected by World War II; on working as a page for NBC and working at WOR radio
On going to work for Arthur Godfrey; on going to work for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; on working with Fred De Cordova as producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
On his day-to-day responsibilities on The Tonight Show; on collaborating with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; on booking guests for The Tonight Show
On sexual tension between host and guest on talk shows; on Joan Rivers as guest host of The Tonight Show; on Johnny Carson retiring from The Tonight Show

Chapter 2

On briefing guests for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
On leaving The Late Show with David Letterman to produce The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder; on producing The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn
On producing The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn; on producing The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
On appearing on David Letterman's tribute to Johnny Carson; on being known as "The Host Whisperer"; on advice to aspiring producers and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Arthur Godfrey Show, The

View Show Page
Peter Lassally on going to work for Arthur Godfrey and scouting talent
05:07

Late Show with David Letterman

View Show Page
Peter Lassally on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35
Peter Lassally on leaving The Late Show with David Letterman to produce The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder
03:21
Peter Lassally on David Letterman as a performer
03:43
Peter Lassally on appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman's tribute to Johnny Carson
04:57

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

View Show Page
Peter Lassally on going to work for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
02:51
Peter Lassally on splitting producing duties with Fred De Cordova on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:11
Peter Lassally on his personal and professional relationship with Johnny Carson
06:23
Peter Lassally on his day-to-day responsibilities as a producer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and dealing and with talent
07:46
Peter Lassally on collaborating with Johnny Carson as producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
05:48
Peter Lassally on booking guests for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:12
Peter Lassally on sexual tension between a host and a guest on a talk show
04:27
Peter Lassally on Joan Rivers guest-hosting The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and leaving for her own show
05:06
Peter Lassally on Johnny Carson retiring from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:12
Peter Lassally on briefing guests for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:09
Peter Lassally on his involvement in sketches and other elements of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:49
Peter Lassally on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35

Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The

View Show Page
Peter Lassally on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35
Topics

Advice

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Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring producers
02:36
Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring talk show hosts
00:43

Historic Events and Social Change

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Peter Lassally on how his German family was affected by World War II
02:57

Television Industry

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Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring producers
02:36
Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring talk show hosts
00:43

War

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Peter Lassally on how his German family was affected by World War II
02:57

World War II

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Peter Lassally on how his German family was affected by World War II
02:57
Professions

Hosts

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Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring talk show hosts
00:43

Producers

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Peter Lassally on his day-to-day responsibilities as a producer and dealing with talent on The Tonight Show
07:46
Peter Lassally on advice to aspiring producers
02:36
Genres

Talk Shows

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Peter Lassally on producing The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (Part 1)
45:10
Peter Lassally on producing The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (Part 2)
22:33
Peter Lassally on producing The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35
Peter Lassally on producing The Late Late Show
22:18
People

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Peter Lassally on going to work for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
02:51
Peter Lassally on his personal and professional relationship with Johnny Carson
06:23
Peter Lassally on Johnny Carson retiring from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:12
Peter Lassally on appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman's tribute to Johnny Carson
04:57

Fred de Cordova

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Peter Lassally on splitting producing duties with Fred De Cordova on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:11

Arthur Godfrey

View Person Page
Peter Lassally on going to work for Arthur Godfrey and scouting talent
05:07

Jay Leno

View Person Page
Peter Lassally on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35

David Letterman

View Person Page
Peter Lassally on Jay Leno succeeding Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show; on starting The Late Show with David Letterman
17:35
Peter Lassally on leaving The Late Show with David Letterman  to produce The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder
03:21
Peter Lassally on appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman's tribute to Johnny Carson
04:57

Joan Rivers

View Interview Page
Peter Lassally on Joan Rivers guest-hosting The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson  and leaving for her own show
05:06

Tom Snyder

View Person Page
Peter Lassally on leaving The Late Show with David Letterman  to produce The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder
03:21

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