The Tonight Show

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The Tonight Show is a popular late night television talk and comedy show in the United States. It appears on the NBC television network. The show started in 1954 and was hosted by Steve Allen. In 1957, Jack Paar became the host, with Ernie Kovacs hosting on some nights.

In 1962, Johnny Carson took over and stayed until 1992, with announcer Ed McMahon as co-host. Carson and McMahon retired from The Tonight Show in 1992, when Jay Leno became host. Leno left the show in 2009, and Conan O'Brien (of Late Night and Saturday Night Live fame) became host from June 2009 to January 2010 before leaving due to controversy with The Tonight Show's timeslot. Jay Leno became the host of the show again on March 1, 2010.

2009 timeslot controversy[change | change source]

In late 2009, NBC said that they would be moving the Jay Leno Show to 11:35 PM, the time usually slotted for The Tonight Show. The Jay Leno Show would be 30 minutes long. The Tonight Show would be moved to 12:05 AM, but would still be a full hour long. NBC did this because Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien were not getting enough viewers, and they believed that moving The Jay Leno Show to late night would increase their prime time viewers.

After being told this, Conan O'Brien said that he would be leaving The Tonight Show. He said that he believed that moving the show to 12:05 would ruin it, and that it would be unfair to Late Night, which would have been moved to 1:05 AM. The deal was made that O'Brien would receive $33 million and that his staff of almost 200 people would receive $12 million. Conan O'Brien's last show aired on January 22, 2010.