In 1980, following lengthy negotiations, NBC president Fred Silverman and Johnny Carson arrived at a contract agreement which would keep the "King of Late Night" in place for another three years. Part of that agreement included the creation of Carson Productions. One of the first projects for Johnny's stable was to create a show around frequent "Tonight Show" guest host David Letterman. "The David Letterman" show was a live, 90-minute alternative to game shows, soap operas and syndicated reruns of old sitcoms. Regulars included Edie McClurg as "Mrs. Marv Mendenhall" (whose last name was inspired by Paul Mendenhall, a longtime radio voice in Dave's college town of Muncie, Indiana), Valri Bromfield as crazy teen "Debbie Smith," and Paul Raley as conspiracy-crazed former FBI agent "P.J. Rails." NBC newsman Edwin Newman provided (real) news updates. The first announcer was comedian Bob Sarlatte; Bill Wendell would later assume announcing duties. Frank Owen (II) was the bandleade
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