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Tomorrow
Format Talk show
Starring Tom Snyder (1973–1982)
Rona Barrett (1980-1981)
Country of origin  United States
Production
Location(s) Burbank (1973-1974, 1977-1979)
New York (1974-1977, 1979-1982)
Running time 60 minutes
(1973–Sept 5, 1980)
90 minutes
(Sept 8, 1980–1982)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 15, 1973 – January 28, 1982
Chronology
Followed by Late Night with David Letterman
(1982–1993)
Related shows The Midnight Special
(1973-1981)

Tomorrow (also known as The Tomorrow Show and, after 1980, Tomorrow Coast to Coast) was an American late-night television talk show hosted by Tom Snyder. The show aired on NBC from 1973 to 1982 and featured many prominent guests, including Paul McCartney, "Weird Al" Yankovic (in his first televised appearance), Ayn Rand, John Lennon (in his last televised interview), Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Charles Manson, The Clash, Johnny Rotten, and U2 (in their first American television appearance). Los Angeles news anchor Kelly Lange, a good friend of Snyder, was the regular substitute guest host.

It was a talk show unlike the usual late-night fare, with Snyder conducting one-on-one interviews sans audience, cigarette in hand, alternating between asking hard-hitting questions and offering personal observations that made the interview closer to a conversation. Snyder was a veteran newsman, but often communicated like a comedian doing a standup routine, and seemed to like getting the off-camera technical crew to laugh.

When not grilling guests, Snyder would often joke around with off-stage crewmen, often breaking out in the distinctively hearty laugh that was the basis of Dan Aykroyd's impersonation of Snyder on Saturday Night Live. His seemingly mismatched jet black eyebrows and grey hair were also lampooned on SNL. Snyder was, as well, the inspiration for the cartoon "Tom Morrow", which appeared in Playboy in the late 1970s.

The title card on Snyder's show had dovetailed "Tom" and "Tomorrow", by highlighting "Tom" in a different color.

The show was scheduled at 1 A.M., immediately following The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It was originally broadcast from the NBC studios in Burbank, CA, but moved to New York in December 1974 when Snyder took on additional anchor duties for NBC News. In June 1977, the show returned to Burbank until 1979, when Snyder headed back to New York. On September 16, 1980, when The Tonight Show was shortened to 60 minutes, Tomorrow was scheduled at 12:30am and lengthened to 90 minutes.

Contents

Awards and nominations

The show was nominated for three Emmy Awards: one in 1976 for Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction and Electronic Camerawork and two in 1981 for Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement.

Notable interviews

Unique one-on-one exchanges were common to the program, notably with author Harlan Ellison, actor and writer Sterling Hayden and author-philosopher Ayn Rand. A one-on-one program with David Brenner as the sole guest revealed that Snyder and Brenner worked together on several documentaries.

Peak moments with Snyder on Tomorrow included John Lennon's final televised interview, in April 1975 (replayed in December 1980 as a tribute to Lennon, and later released on home video), and Irish rock band U2's first American television appearance in June 1981. Also memorable was the 1980 cigarette smoke-filled appearance of Public Image Ltd.'s John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) and Keith Levene, whose thoroughly uncooperative twelve-minute appearance on the show acquired a long-term notoriety. "Weird Al" Yankovic's first television appearance was on the show in April 1981. Another memorable moment came on a 1978 show when he had on one of NBC's West Coast staff announcers, Donald Rickles, one day after interviewing the same-named comedian Don Rickles. During the course of their segment, Snyder and Rickles (the announcer) spent ten minutes playing the then-new electronic board game, Simon.

Another notorious segment was a 1981 prison interview with mass murderer Charles Manson. Manson was by turns quietly mesmerizing and disturbingly manic, suddenly getting a wild look in his eyes and spouting wild notions at Snyder before temporarily returning to a calm demeanor.[1]

Bizarre moments included a 1979 appearance by Chicago shock-jock Steve Dahl, and a March 1981 appearance by the punk band, The Plasmatics, during which lead singer Wendy O. Williams sledgehammered a TV in the studio. The explosion disrupted a live broadcast of NBC Nightly News being produced in a studio two floors above. Snyder himself referred to this occurrence on a May 1981 followup appearance in which the Plasmatics blew up a car.

Perhaps the most outrageous interview seen on Snyder's show occurred on Halloween 1979, when the rock band KISS appeared to promote their album, Dynasty. During that 25-minute "interview", the conversation degenerated into a somewhat chaotic exchange between Snyder and a very drunk Ace Frehley, who picked up Snyder's teddy bear, put the wristlets from his costume on the bear, and laughed, "the only Spacebear in captivity! I've got him — he's captured!" When Snyder asked Ace if his costume was that of some sort of spaceman, Frehley quipped, "No, actually I'm a plumber." Snyder shot back, "Well, I've got a piece of pipe backstage I'd like to have you work on." The inebriated Frehley replied "Tell me about it!" and clapped his hands and cackled hysterically at the exchange. Years later, Gene Simmons revealed on his website that he felt "betrayed" by the other band members during this interview. Shortly thereafter, drummer Peter Criss officially left the band and subsequently appeared on the show, making Snyder the first host to have a member of KISS appearing without makeup in public.

Tomorrow Coast to Coast

Following a disastrous experiment with turning Tomorrow into a more typical talk show — renaming it Tomorrow Coast to Coast and adding a live audience and co-host, Rona Barrett (all of which Snyder resented) — the show was cancelled in 1982, to make way for the up-and-coming young comedian, David Letterman.

David Letterman and Snyder had a long history together: a 1978 Tomorrow episode hosted by Snyder was almost exclusively devoted to a long interview with up-and-coming new comedy talents Letterman, Billy Crystal and Merrill Markoe.

Because of this, some have speculated that Letterman simply wanted to give Snyder another chance in the late night arena. That led to The Late Late Show, which Snyder hosted from 1995 to 1999.

DVD releases

Three DVD compilations of footage of Tomorrow have been released to date:

The Tomorrow Show - Tom Snyder's Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show

The Tomorrow Show - Punk & New Wave

The Tomorrow Show - John, Paul, Tom & Ringo

See also

References

External links

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