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Anyone who's battled insomnia lately knows that navigating the overnight TV lineup would be a test even if you weren't weary from sleep deprivation.
But if you're up all night, for any reason, don't hesitate to turn on the TV.
Here, our quick guide to the good stuff on the networks and basic cable.
The Late Night Talk
In January, the network shifted Jimmy Kimmel Live from midnight to 11:30 p.m. to widen his appeal and compete with the kingpins. Kimmel, 45, grew up idolizing Letterman, but he may remind 50-plus viewers more of Letterman's mentor, Johnny Carson. He has Carson's easy way with Hollywood's elite, many of whom he counts as friends. Fresh funny bits like his man-on-the-street "Lie Witness News" segments make Letterman's Top Ten List look ready for retirement. Kimmel was recently named to the 2013 Time 100 list of the world's most influential people.
The only other late night host to join Kimmel in the artists category was NBC's Jimmy Fallon, whose Late Night with Jimmy Fallon airs at 12:35 a.m. Fallon, 38 and a former Saturday Night Live cast member, will move to Leno's desk next year. NBC has high hopes for Fallon's success there.
Also at 12:35, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS competes with Fallon.
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News and Views
Only Fox News Channel airs an original show between midnight and 5 a.m.: Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, an offbeat hour of political and pop culture punditry hosted by political blogger Gutfeld. It airs at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday through Saturday.
But there's much to see elsewhere.
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And at 2:05 a.m. ET, NBC re-broadcasts the feature-y fourth hour of the previous day's Today, with popular cohosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Next page: Nightly nostalgia and TV marathons. »
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If you yearn for TV from decades past, you've got lots of options.
On Antenna TV, you'll find Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Burns and Allen Show and The Jack Benny Program from the '50s; on Me-TV you'll find '60s staples Mission: Impossible, Combat! and Perry Mason.
Shows from the '80s, like Cheers, Roseanne, The Cosby Show and The Golden Girls can be found on Channels like TV Land, Nick at Nite and Hallmark. In fact, the dedicated Golden Girls viewer who knows just when and where to click could take in six episodes of that classic show every night.
Miranda Penn Turin/USA Networks/Everett Collection
A few cable channels use the overnight hours to offer long programming blocks of their most popular shows.
A&E, for example, airs three straight hours of its half-hour reality hit Duck Dynasty beginning at midnight on Thursdays. On other nights during the week, the network offers binge blocks of its popular reality fare, including Storage Wars and American Hoggers.
And the USA network relies heavily on Law & Order: Criminal Intent reruns. Bleary-eyed aspiring crime solvers can take in two nightly hours of CI at 4 a.m. And on Wednesdays, USA throws in two more hours of the original Law & Order at 2 a.m.
Austin O'Connor writes on lifestyle and entertainment topics for AARP Media.
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