Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's Cavett vs. Carson Once Again

First it was Johnny Carson returning to late night TV at the beginning of this year on Antenna TV. Now it will be Dick Cavett airing on the Decades channel. They will both air at 11:00 pm eastern, going head-to-head just like they did between 1968 and 1974. During that period, Carson was on NBC and Cavett was on ABC, with both shows originating from New York City.

In 1966, Ed Sullivan announced stand-up comedian Dick Cavett as "A young collegian from Yale". He had worked as a comedy writer for Tonight Show hosts Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. He also was a writer for the short-lived Jerry Lewis variety show in the 1960s. Writing for others was paying the bills, but Cavett wanted to try to be a late night host where he could perform his own jokes for a nationwide audience.

Cavett has hosted many shows in various time slots for various networks including ABC, CBS, PBS, USA, CNBC and TCM. These rebroadcasts will span the array of Cavett shows that aired between 1968 and 1996. He is a cerebral guy who is good friends with Woody Allen. The two of them share a similar comedic style. You could say that Dick Cavett is a "thinking person's" host.

The show begins airing on Decades on February 1. People already need to choose between Fallon, Kimmel and Colbert, and soon we will be able to add Carson and Cavett to the options. Find the Decades affiliate in your area here.

* Some information from and!dick-cavett/cs11

Friday, January 08, 2016

Johnny Carson Returns to Late Night

The past couple of years, we have witnessed many changes in the late night TV landscape. David Letterman, Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson stepped down after many years as television mainstays. Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Jimmy Fallon stepped into new roles.

On January 1st, the Antenna TV network started airing episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The program airs 7 nights per week. Monday through Friday are the 60 minute episodes made between 1980 and 1992. On Saturday and Sunday, the 90 minute shows will air, which were produced previous to 1980. Tune in weeknights at 11:00 pm eastern and 10:00 pm eastern on weekends. Johnny's show aired on NBC from 1962-1992. Most of the shows made for the first 10 years were not archived. It was the practice back then to record over shows once they aired.

It is truly a pleasure to see these classic shows on TV again. It is obvious that so much of what we see on late night TV today was influenced by Carson. Younger generations will get exposed to the genius of this show. It is staggering to think about the groundbreaking comedians who got their big break with Johnny. A good appearance on the show would send struggling careers into the stratosphere.

Johnny's success can be traced to a couple of factors. Unlike many of today's hosts, he really listened to his guests. He was not glued to his notes, obsessing about his next question. Also, he wanted his guests to shine. He did not need to hog the spotlight and get all of the laughs for himself. He knew that if he had top-notch guests, it was good for the show. Between the celebrities, the skits by "The Mighty Carson Art Players", the outstanding big band jazz NBC Orchestra and the personalities of Johnny, Ed and Doc, this show was something special.

Those who enjoyed the show can check out the Facebook Johnny Carson Fan Club here.