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.

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