After Johnny Carson's retirement from the show, Jay Leno stepped in as his permanent replacement. The format of the show has remained largely unchanged, consisting primarily of an opening ... See full summary »
Daytime, primetime, then late-night talk and variety show. Often there was only one guest (GA Gov. Lester Maddox walked out angrily during one interview). Cavett was intelligent and witty, ... See full summary »
"Family Feud" was one of the most popular game shows on TV, but after nine years with Richard Dawson as host, ratings were starting to slip. In 1986, producers decided that the "Family Feud... See full summary »
There was always speculation about who would succeed Carson in the "Tonight" chair. A holding deal NBC had with David Letterman in 1980 fueled speculation that he might be in line to succeed Carson. Others presumed to be in line with Letterman at the time included such names as Richard Dawson and Burt Reynolds. But Carson himself seemed to be sending signals about what he though of Letterman. Unlike previous heirs apparent, whom Carson tended to freeze out, Letterman seemed to have ingratiated himself to Carson. And Carson even dropped Letterman's name on the show in his April 8, 1981 monologue.m See more »
[from his "What Democracy Means To Me" monologue - September 11, 1991]
To me, democracy means placing trust in the little guy, giving the fruits of nationhood to those who built the nation. Democracy means anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.
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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 »
A number of 90-minute episodes from the 1970s were reedited to fit 60-minute timeslots for rerun purposes. See more »
As great as Steve Allen and Jack Paar were, Carson took the ball, reshaped it, and sent it in for a shot heard round the world. There is a reason he hosted the show for 30 years, 4 times longer than his 2 predacessors behind him. He was brilliant at making anyone seem interesting. Steve could do it, and so could Jack (though not as well from what I've seen), but Johnny really had a grasp of finding the way to question people to fit their response style. He really was the first true King of Late Night. If others say it's Paar or Allen, then I say Carson became Emporer!
The skits were done cheaply, but they were so much fun, you laughed with them, not at them.
Originally, the Carson's show was 90 minutes, and it was trimmed to 60 in the early 80's since he felt he could not keep the level up like he had in the past, which made the way for David Letterman. Thank You Johnny!
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