The CBS Late Movie
1972 - 1993
The CBS Late Movie is a CBS television series (later known as CBS Late Night) from the 1970s and 1980s, that ran in most American television markets from 11:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. or later, on weeknights. A single announcer (in the early years, CBS staff announcer Norm Stevens) voiced the introduction and commercial bumpers for each program, but there was no host per se, or closing credits besides those of the night's presentation. (The bumpers announcing the stars of the movie notably rotated names, two or three at a time, so more of the players would be mentioned.)
The program was launched following the cancellation of The Merv Griffin Show, CBS's late-night talk show from 1969 to 1972. The show went on to have long run in first-run syndication following CBS's cancellation.
The CBS Late Movie theme music was So Old, So Young by Morton Stevens, which also served as the theme music for CBS's prime-time movies until 1978.
A memorable aspect to the show's commercial breaks was the frequent appearance of public service announcements, from the Ad Council and other organizations, that often dealt with "mature" topics such as venereal disease, sexual and violent crimes, and abuse of hard drugs. Announcements also ran in much greater proportion than during prime time, with commercial breaks lasting longer; it was not uncommon for the second portion of the show to start at 12:05AM or 12:40AM.
The CBS Late Night block, however, was not always cleared by every affiliate of the network; in several markets, the block was either delayed by one hour than its regularly-scheduled time (most notably in the Central and Mountain time zones), picked up by a local independent station (including those that later affiliated with the Fox television network), or not seen at all in certain cities. Those stations that did not carry CBS Late Night instead broadcast movies from their own libraries and/or their own lineup of off-network syndicated sitcoms and dramas reruns and first-run syndication products. A large factor in the programming decisions of many CBS affiliates electing not to clear CBS Late Night (or delaying it) was due to head-to-head competition with NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and later entering the 1980s, ABC News' Nightline. It was not until 1993, when the Late Show with David Letterman debuted, that CBS' late night programming (excluding Nightwatch/Up to the Minute) was cleared across the entire network.