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Tomorrow Show, The (Tomorrow Coast To Coast)

1 9 7 3 – 1 9 8 1 (USA)

The Tomorrow Show was a late-night talk show hosted by brash newsman Tom Snyder which aired at 1:00 AM following The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Mondays through Thursdays (or, to be more exact, early morning Tuesdays through Fridays).

In a studio devoid of all glitz the often chain-smoking host interviewed some of the most famous and interesting people of the 20th century (and just as many fools). Snyder never seemed to fear coming off as corny or even factually inept, which led to some great questions. He could also be sweet one moment and relentlessly probing the next.

Topics covered ranged from nudism (including a remote pickup at a California nudist colony) to discussions with draft dodgers living in Canada, to all aspects of changing American lifestyles with a panel of psychologists.

Snyder devoted an entire programme in April 1975 to a chat with John Lennon that turned out to be the former Beatle‘s final televised interview, and the most in-depth one he ever did for American TV.

A large portion was devoted to his deportation struggle, but the great man came off as funny, charming and forthcoming as ever on subjects ranging from The Beatles‘ break-up to groupies and drugs.

Tomorrow was originally produced in Los Angeles, where Snyder worked as an anchorman on the local KNBC-TV news.

When the show first aired there was no studio audience at the taping, a situation that changed in less than four months. After an audience had been added, Snyder would often invite its members to ask questions of his guests.

When his local news anchor duties shifted to New York in December 1974, The Tomorrow Show went with him.

In June 1977, Tom and the show returned to California, only to come back again to New York when Snyder became host of the newsmagazine Prime Time Sunday in 1979.

In 1980 The Tomorrow Show expanded from an hour to 90 minutes, as part of a general restructuring of NBC’s late-night lineup. With an extra half-hour to fill, the Tomorrow staff was expanded and two new on-air personalities were added, Nancy Friday and Rona Barrett, and contemporary musical guests performed on most telecasts.

Miss Friday, a psychologist who had been an occasional guest of Tom’s in the past, became a semiregular as the resident “human relations commentator”.

Miss Barrett, the noted Hollywood gossip columnist, joined Tomorrow at the end of October (she had just left ABC’s Good Morning, America to sign a long-term contract with NBC) as the West Coast-based cohost with Tom.

She and Tom didn’t get along well, with their strong egos conflicting almost immediately. Their feud boiled over on 10 November 1980, only two weeks after her first appearance on Tomorrow, when she refused to appear on the air.

It took two months to resolve the dispute, and when Rona returned to the show on 12 January 1981, it had been retitled Tomorrow Coast to Coast. She left again later that year.

In February 1982, NBC replaced the show with Late Night with David Letterman.