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March 2nd, 2000

Johnny Carson, where are you?

Back in the early 90s, when Johnny Carson stepped down as host of Tonight after 30 years (thirty years!), NBC kept him aboard by mentioning that he’d do specials through his production company over the following seasons.

But that didn’t happen, ever. Outside of an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, Carson has successfully slipped out of the public spotlight. Very interesting and complex task to do, given that Carson is considered the master of the late night talk show. While I can’t argue with Carson’s decision to enjoy the rest of his life in seclusion, I guess a part of me is very selfish and wants to see something new from Carson. Not much, mind you; maybe an hour show. Maybe as guest host of Late Show (that’d be mind-blowing.)

Outside of Letterman and Conan, there really aren’t any innovators in late night anymore. Sure, Leno might play it safe with lots of jokes that lots of people can relate to, but Conan and Letterman try things. They might not be funny; on the other hand, if they succeed, they turn out to be classic. Kilborn is a pretender. It’ll be interesting to see if former Talk Soup host John Henson gets into the mix over at ABC, because he has the qualities it takes to succeed.

But, none of them are Johnny Carson. Yet. -pm

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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