Parr announced he was quitting the show in 1962. Possible successors had been rumored before because Parr was so often close to quitting. Johnny Carson's name would always come up because he had so smoothly filled in during occasional assignments as guest host. After a short winnowing process that included a tryout performance in which Carson's stand-up act electrified an audience of advertising executives at the Greenbrier resort in Virginia, NBC had a clear choice. Carson had already turned down the job once fearing following a figure of national fascination like Parr amounted to professional suicide. Carson did accept the job when NBC came back a second time, but a contract with ABC committed him to "Who Do You Trust" for 26 more weeks. NBC was willing to wait: the network was sure it had the right man.
On 2/11/60, Jack Paar tearfully announced that he was walking out on the show. He told a joke the night before about a "water closet", which is an archaic term for a bathroom. The joke was considered in bad taste by NBC censors and edited from the show. Paar protested the edit by leaving the show during the broadcast. Announcer Hugh Downs had to fill in. Paar returned to the show six weeks later.