"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."
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.