Katherine Newbury is an acclaimed late-night talk show host with an extensive career in comedy, but her show's ratings have seen a steady decline over the past decade. The network's president, Caroline Morton, tells Katherine to fix up her show or she will be replaced. In an attempt to revamp the show, Katherine has Molly Patel hired to her writing staff, mainly on the basis that she is an Indian-American woman while all remaining writers are white men. Although Molly has little experience in comedy and initially struggles, she proves her worth by giving Katherine good material to work with on her show as well as ideas on how to reach out to a bigger audience. The results prove successful. Katherine learns that Caroline wants to pick young, popular comedian Daniel Tennant to replace her as the new host. Katherine resists, as Daniel's comedy is vulgar and misogynistic. With backup from her writers, Katherine defies the network's demands and decides on air to continue her career.
An email from one of the writers, Charlie, gets leaked, in which it is revealed that Katherine had an affair with Charlie after her husband Walter was initially diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In the midst of the drama, Katherine fires Molly when she tells her she is acting poorly in the wake of the news. Eventually, Katherine makes amends with Walter and the other writers and admits her affair to her audience. Her sincerity and passion for the show convinces Caroline to let her stick around, and Katherine later apologizes to Molly and hires her back. The show continues to run on air. One year later, the show's team has diversified, Molly is promoted to co-lead monologue writer, and Katherine's show is more successful than ever.
Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury, an acclaimed and legendary late-night talk show host and comedian from the United Kingdom. She is the host of Tonight with Katherine Newbury, one of most popular late-night talk shows in the USA.
Mindy Kaling as Molly Patel, an Indian-American writer who works for Katherine Newbury and is a staff member of Tonight with Katherine Newbury, also dubbed by Katherine as Eight
Amy Ryan as Caroline Morton, the president of the network that Tonight with Katherine Newbury is shown
John Lithgow as Walter Lovell, professor emeritus at NYU and Katherine’s husband of 25 years
Denis O'Hare as Brad, head writer of the show
Paul Walter Hauser as Eugene Mancuso, one of the writers on the show, dubbed as One
John Early as Chris Reynolds, one of the writers on the show, dubbed as Two
Late Night is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Nisha Ganatra from a screenplay also produced by Mindy Kaling. It stars Emma Thompson as a popular TV host who hires a new writer (Kaling) to keep from getting replaced. Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow, Denis O'Hare, Reid Scott, and Amy Ryan also star.
The project was first announced in 2016, with Fox 2000 Pictures set to produce Kaling's script and Paul Feig signed on to direct. In August 2017, Ganatra replaced Feig and the film was picked up by FilmNation Entertainment. Much of the cast joined in April 2018 and filming began later that month in New York City. Following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019, Amazon Studios bought the domestic distribution rights for a record $13 million.
Late Night was theatrically released in the United States on June 7, 2019. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for its social satire and commentary, screenplay, as well as Thompson's performance. For her performance, Thompson received a nomination at the 77th Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.