The television producer Michael Horowicz remembers the late broadcaster Tom Snyder, and discusses news, late night television, interviewing & more, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.
When you don’t go to interviewing school, you really steal from the personalities one has watched growing up. The Late Late Show debuted in 1995 in the middle of my grade eight year. Tom Snyder was the host, and in those nights when I was finding myself up far too late, I started watching the guy who came on after Letterman on CBS. I was drawn into his style of storytelling and conversation. He was compelling, riveting stuff. I went back and learned a little more about him. Sometimes he would tell stories about hosting the old Tomorrow Show on NBC, which really made him a household name in the 1970s. From time to time, he’d tell stories about anchoring the evening news in New York at WABC, or in Los Angeles at KNBC. He was a real television personality, who was talented as he was captivating. He wasn’t like his opposite number at NBC, Conan O’Brien, who did skits and comedy like every other late night host. In fact, it was just Snyder, him and a camera. There were some people chuckling from behind the cameras, but it was really just Snyder, the guest if there was one, and the rest of us watching at home. After he left the Late Late Show in 1999, he was succeeded by Craig Kilborn, then Craig Ferguson was on for a decade or so, and lately it’s been James Corden at 12.30am. I’ve grown to miss his presence. So I have bought all the DVDs, compilations from the Tomorrow Show days. And thanks to YouTube, there are all sorts of interviews. There’s the memorable Alfred Hitchcock one, and the infamous Charles Manson one. He didn’t just interview celebrities, he also covered the news. If there was a development in the O.J. Simpson trial, or devastation in Oklahoma City, Tom Snyder took the time to report it and talk about it. Michael Horowicz was there through the CBS years, and the couple of years he was at CNBC. In fact, he first worked with Snyder in the early 1980s at WABC in New York where Snyder was anchoring, and he was a producer. This was in the days of Eyewitness News, with anchors like Roger Grimsby and Bill Buetel. Mr. Horowicz joins me now as we remember Tom Snyder, a larger than life figure in television, who was also quite tall: he stood six feet, four inches. Snyder died ten years ago this week, at the age of 71, 29 July 2007. (Which incidentally is Michael’s birthday.) Michael’s Twitter handle is @Michaelhorowicz . He is a veteran of news and has produced for personalities such as Geraldo Rivera, Tavis Smiley, and many others. Tom Snyder’s skill as an interviewer is unmatched, and he is a much missed personality. We taped this interview last Thursday morning (20 July 2017), as we all waited the result of O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Michael Horowicz; Mr. Horowicz, good morning.