30 Facts About Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson


Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was an American late-night talk show hosted by Johnny Carson on NBC, the third iteration of the Tonight Show franchise.

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Series has been considered the best version of the show by many Tonight Show enthusiasts, and it has been ranked as one of the greatest TV shows of all time in polls from both 2002 and 2013.

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Johnny Carson's Tonight Show established the modern format of the late-night talk show: a monologue sprinkled with a rapid-fire series of 16 to 22 one-liners was followed by sketch comedy, then moving on to guest interviews and performances by musicians and stand-up comedians.

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Occasionally, Carson interviewed prominent politicians such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Robert F Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey, however Carson refused to discuss his personal political views on the show out of concern it might alienate his audience.

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Carson almost never socialized with guests before or after the show; frequent interviewee Orson Welles recalled that Tonight Show employees were astonished when Carson visited Welles's dressing room to say hello before a show.

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Tonight Show had a live big band for nearly all of its existence.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson influenced the scheduling of reruns in the mid-1970s and, in 1980, the length of each evening's broadcast, by threatening NBC with, in the first case, moving to another network, and in the latter, retiring altogether.

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In 1980, Carson renewed his contract with the stipulation that the show lose its last half-hour.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was given authority to fill the vacant time slot and used it to create Late Night with David Letterman.

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Today, The Tonight Show remains one hour in length and is still followed by Late Night, currently under the title Late Night with Seth Meyers.

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In 1979, when Fred Silverman was the head of NBC, Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson took the network to court, claiming that he had been a free agent since April of that year because his most recent contract had been signed in 1972.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson cited a California law barring certain contracts from lasting more than seven years.

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NBC, in turn, was ready to offer The Tonight Show to Carson's most frequent guest host at the time, Richard Dawson.

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Only 33 complete episodes of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show that had originally aired prior to May 1,1972 are known to exist.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Productions has made clips available on YouTube and Antenna TV.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson had guest hosts for entire weeks during Carson's vacations and other nights he had off.

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Richard Dawson guest hosted 14 times during 1979 and 1980, and was being considered as a full-time replacement should Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson have retired during his 1980 contract dispute with NBC.

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Nor did she appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a ban maintained by Leno out of respect for Carson.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson never appeared during Conan O'Brien's seven-month run.

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On February 17,2014, Rivers returned to the Tonight Show as part of a skit in which numerous celebrities paid new host, Jimmy Fallon, after having lost the bet that he would never become the host of the program.

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NBC transmitted The Tonight Show in stereo sporadically through 1984 and on a regular basis beginning in 1985.

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However, this appearance on The Tonight Show, which Carson and Randi had orchestrated to debunk Geller's claimed abilities, backfired.

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The last of Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson's monologues was delivered on this episode and was written by Jim Mulholland, Steven Kunes and Rift Fournier.

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Once underway, the atmosphere was electric and Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was greeted with a sustained, two-minute intense standing ovation.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson began singing the song, and after the first line, Carson joined in and turned it into an impromptu duet.

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Carson had no guests on his final episode of The Tonight Show on May 22,1992, which was instead a retrospective show taped before an invitation-only studio audience of family, friends, and crew.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson gave only two major interviews after his retirement: one to The Washington Post in 1993, and the other to Esquire magazine in 2002.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson hinted in his 1993 interview that he did not think he could top what he had already accomplished.

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Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson rarely appeared elsewhere after retiring, providing only a guest voice on an episode of The Simpsons, which included him performing feats of strength and featured Bette Midler as well, and a cameo on the May 13,1994, Late Show with David Letterman where he delivered a Top 10 List and sat in Dave's chair for a minute.

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In 2011, the last Carson Tonight show was ranked No 10 on the TV Guide Network special, TV's Most Unforgettable Finales.

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