Tom Snyder dead at 71
Most of us in the 35-and-up set will remember Snyder as host of the NBC talker The Tomorrow Show, which held the post-Tonight Show slot from 1973 to 1982. Much different than the show that preceeded it (and much different from what David Letterman would do in the timeslot), Tomorrow consisted of relaxed, long-form, smoky conversations with newsmakers and cultural icons like John Lennon, Charles Manson, and the Sex Pistols. It was also the show that provided "Weird Al" Yankovic with his first national TV exposure. Not sure why I remember that factoid.
Ironically, in 1995, Letterman hired Snyder as the first host of The Late Late Show, which followed Letterman's show on CBS. It had the same easygoing style as Tomorrow, minus the cigarette smoke.
Snyder started in news, anchoring in Philadelphia before working on Tomorrow. He tried going back to the news business for a time in the '80s -- anchoring at WABC in New York -- until he settled into his own syndicated radio show, which ran until Letterman came calling. I remember listening to the radio show from time to time and was constantly amazed at how relaxed and casual Snyder seemed in front of the mic. His show was a good antidote to the shock jocks and hyper sports talk shows that were beginning to rule the airwaves in those days.