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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

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 10:37:22AM
I've often wondered myself what ever happened to Johnny Carson. I have fond memories of staying up late and watching his show. I also agree that while Jay Leno's "Headlines" are funny (especially the wedding announcements), Letterman is the king of late night. Conan does try new things and has some creative bits that make me chuckle, but the majority of his stuff seems to fall flat. Letterman has the right combination of cockiness and goof-ball attitude to pull off a good show. And more often than not, his hot female guests feel inclined to strip on camera for him, which will make me tune in any day!
-Old Fezz

FROM: Robert
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 1:25:58PM
I agree that "Headlines" is a funny bit, but it's a total rip-off of the National Lampoon's "True Facts".

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 2:32:54PM
I think Letterman is an idiot and love the parody of him on SNL portrayed by Norm McDonald. Leno, as you said plays it safe with his material but he really has a good personality that people can relate to. Connan on the other had is the master of innovation, who would ever think that Dirty Dancing would be re-released? Connan made it happen. Plus on Connan he always has more obscure musical guests that I like.
Now onto what this is about Johnny Carson. I actually was thinking about Carson last week and wondering if we would ever see him again. Thanks for reading my mind:)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 2:34:24PM
I believe Carson recently had some heart problems due to obesity, which has kept him off the air for the last year or so. Before that, who knows...

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 4:04:47PM
Obesity? Carson was skinny as a rail and I can't imagine that he gained that much weight in the last few years, especially as he grows older. Maybe you are thinking of Ed McMahon, his sidekick.
-Old Fezz

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday March 2, 2000 -- 6:41:28PM
The heart surgery part is definitely true (see this link), though the obesity part I heard on the radio and haven't been able to find a link (in my 2 minutes of searching) that would confirm it...

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday March 3, 2000 -- 2:12:07PM
The whole reason I wrote this ping in the first place is because I'm reading The Late Shift, which was the basis for the HBO movie. VERY interesting thus far.

In any event, I know for sure I saw a picture of Johnny Carson post-Tonight, and he had a belly on him. But I have no idea where I saw it; it had to be at least 3 years ago now.

FROM: shelle
DATE: Monday March 5, 2001 -- 12:32:45AM
to be frank, jay leno sucks. hey you can't base a show on your chin! johnny was the master, then letterman, then conan. leno ain't even on my list. sure he has the guests--but he plays it so "safe" and does such poor interviews that i for one can't bear to watch him for more than a minute or two and that only if the guest is someone i am interested in finding out more about. i know all i need to about leno. fire that chin!!

FROM: Karol
DATE: Saturday March 31, 2001 -- 1:02:05AM
Just watched a "Cheers" rerun, about the excitement of my late night TV, it just sucks since Johnny isn't on anymore, but tonight Johnny made somewhat of a cameo apperance.How EXCITING to see him again, if only on a rerun! I can only take so much of Letterman and Leno was never a favorite of mine...we sure miss ya Johnny, give us alittle of your time again, preferably after the news, like the good old days!!!

DATE: Tuesday April 10, 2001 -- 11:53:49PM
I was a HARD CORE Johnny Carson fan! There never will be another Johnny Carson. The world has changed, and he captured that "simpler time" when schtick was used extensively for a laugh, along with his excellent serious interviews that were in the last portion of the show. Indeed, a time gone with the wind...We have the memories, though, and they will live with us true fans for the rest of our days. Enjoy the sunsets over Point Dune, Johnny (and Alex)!

FROM: donna addy
DATE: Wednesday June 27, 2001 -- 12:43:49AM
I too miss Johnny Carson. I just can't seem to watch anything of interest at 11:30. Does anyone know if he will ever come out of retirement for even one show? I would pay anything for tickets.

FROM: Bill
DATE: Monday April 8, 2002 -- 1:47:32 am
Entertainment tonight did a segment on Johnny Carson last night. I missed it. Did anyone see that show and if so, could you share any information to an old devoted fan?

FROM: rubes
DATE: Tuesday February 3, 2004 -- 5:05:00 am
Dammn, Carson was before my time and judging from his old clips, I missed the magic that was Johnny Carson. Leno's jokes are pretty funny but his interview skills are horrendous. Like a little school boy. I love Dave when Regis is on. Instant classic.

DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 8:06:58 pm
I miss Johnny!

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:13:00 pm

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:13:20 pm

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