In September 1983, Joan Rivers was officially designated Carson's permanent guest host, a role she had been essentially filling for more than a year before then. In 1986, she abruptly left for her own show, The Late Show, on the then new Fox Network. Carson first learned of her show when watching her press conference on TV. She called Carson after the announcement and he was furious at Rivers for failing to inform him personally before the press conference, but he refused to take the call. Carson was so infuriated that he banned Rivers from his show, canceling even the three weeks of guest hosting she was scheduled to. Carson never forgave her for leaving, and never spoke to her again, even after she wrote him a note following the accidental death of Carson's son Ricky. Rivers stated that she didn't want to tell Carson before the announcement was made because she was afraid FOX would cancel the deal if word leaked out. She maintains that she handled things the right way by not telling Carson of her plans ahead of time. However, Carson stated that he felt betrayed by Rivers not because she dared to compete with him, but because she was not honest with him beforehand about her intentions and did not ask him for advice and his blessing. The Tonight Show reverted to various guest hosts after Joan left, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno then became the exclusive guest host in the fall of 1987, a position he held for the remainder of Carson's reign. See more »
Got no job? We don't care. Got a bad credit rating? We don't care. Got a prison record? We don't care. Don't expect to pay us? THAT'S when we care!
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Whenever Carson added a skit to an episode, the "Mighty Carson Art Players" would be announced as guest stars. See more »
I write these comments just hours upon hearing the sad news of Johnny's death.To say that I will miss him is a moot point.I have missed him for the last twelve and a half years since he stepped away from his desk.I miss his unique humor and his classic reactions.I miss his ribbing of our nation's presidents both democrat and republican.I miss his banter with Ed McMahon,Doc Severinsen,and Tommy Newsom.He was a big part of my childhood.Though I was never allowed to watch on school nights,I would be sneaky and listen from my bedroom where I was supposed to be asleep.Even when the jokes fell flat,he still found a way to get a laugh.All the hilarious moments too numerous to mention,both those I witnessed when they were fresh,and those looked back on in anniversary shows that I was too young to remember,are what I miss about Johnny Carson.I was indeed sad when he stepped down,and always remained hopeful that he would come back and entertain us some more,but alas,it was not meant to be as he chose to bask in his retirement and rightfully so. I bid to Johnny Carson what he bid to us in his final words on the air, a "heart felt good night."
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