A talk show that had West Coast written all over it.
Rick Dees was always my favorite DJ when I listened to the Weekly Top 40 and his morning show was funny (then corporate politics decided to bump him out and go with the overrated Ryan Seacrest). ABC had never been a gamer in the late night talk show fest, and if a talk show host wanted a program, they would have to settle for going after Nightline. Rick Dees decided to take his chances.
From the outset, the show looked like it had a West Coast look and feel. The set looked California, Rick dressed like a Californian, and even his house band, Billy Vera and the Beaters were a staple on the California music scene (Mind you, not that any of this was bad). It was certainly a change of pace from Carson, that had a traditional look or Letterman, that prided himself on being New York.
Rick tried to incorporate many of his radio stuff onto TV, but it was a rough transition. He also didn't many of the big guests that Carson and Letterman were able to snatch (and when he invited Burton Richardson, announcer for rival talk show host Arsenio Hall onto his show, that was trouble). Things were not going well for Into The Night.
He started to tinker with the show. Billy Vera and the Beaters were not the house band anymore, and were replaced by a group I never heard of before called Burnin' Herman and the Master Mix (lead by drummer Herman Matthews). It still wasn't enough and Into the Night was going the way of The Pat Sajak Show.
Dees and announcer Lisa Canning was finally replaced and there was a new guest host every week. The guest hosts included Suzanne Sommers, Joy Behar, Brad Garrett, and Chris Lemmon. Lemmon was brought in to host the revamped show called Studio 59, which was more of a sketch show (they even went as far as ripping off Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update sketch). I remember watching the final show of this dead duck in spring on 1992. I fell asleep and have no regrets. It was one of ABCs most notable errors before getting sucked up by Disney.
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