August 25, 1980 12:00 PM

by Robert Metz

Only a viewer obsessed with The Tonight Show could have enough interest to get through this hyper-detailed, boring recounting of the breakthrough NBC program. Steve Allen, Jack Paar and now Johnny Carson all prove, says Metz, that Tonight stardom turns men with a bit of quick wit into difficult egomaniacs. There are, in fact, no real Mr. Nice Guys in this book. Much—far too much—material is secondhand, from newspapers and magazines. While the author, a New York Times man who previously chronicled CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye and The Today Show, is generous with credits, this book would have been better with more firsthand reporting. The writing itself is somewhere between Variety and psychohistory: “Carson finds it easier to be a friend now that he is a superstar and married to his third wife, Joanna Holland.” (Playboy Press, $11.95)

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