You probably might be familiar with Jimmy Fallon and Johnny Carson hosting “The Tonight Show” but can you name all the other hosts of the TV show? Over the years, a number of acclaimed hosts have hosted the iconic show to give us some of the most memorable late night TV moments that will never be forgotten.
Other than Carson and Leno, both long time hosts of the TV show, there have been numerous other hosts who enjoyed a much shorter stint due to various showbiz controversies.
Back in 1962 when Johnny Carson took on the hosting duties, the TV show saw a dramatic upsurge in viewership and general public interest. But do you know who followed Carson and who was leading the show before him? Find out below!
The first host of “The Night Show” was Steve Allen; one of the pioneers of the show in whose footsteps followed all of the Tonight Show hosts up until today.
The stylistic approach to a talk show was originally set by him is still felt today; according to many people, Steve was the OG of playful banter and talk show monolog, a style that is still practiced today.
In short, you can say that he was the founder of the modern-day talk show and due to his popularity with the audience and original content, NBC agreed to give him his own prime talk show, which enabled him to host two talk shows simultaneously.
Al Collins And Jack Lescoulie
When it comes to “The Night Show”, no one had ever heard the names of Al “Jazzbo” Collins and Jack Lescoulie. Jack was a one-time host of “The Today Show” , previously having been an announcer on TV and radio, while on the other hand, Collins was a recording artist.
Both Collins and Jack enjoyed a brief stint with the show and hosted it for six months. It was during this time that NBC decided to revamp the overall structure of the show and changed it from a “night show” to a daytime “Today Show”.
According to some purists, Jack Paar is considered to be the original successor of Steve Allen at the Night Show, hosting the program for the briefest of periods during which some of his jokes were censored by NBC, causing a tussle which eventually resulted in Paar leaving the show, only to return a month later to utter the iconic phrase “I was interrupted before and the last thing I would want to say is that there are many other decent ways to make a living than this.”
Also known as the king of the late “Night” show, Johnny Carson will always be remembered as a vital part of the show as he hosted the show “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson ” for 30 long and memorable years. During his time as a host, Carson changed the course of the show with clever skits, giving the program a sense of creative originality and individuality that appealed to most viewers.
After the retirement of Carson, Jay Leno was eventually chosen as his successor, a decision that did not come without it’s fair share of controversy since many of the viewers desired and expected the host of “Late Night” David Letterman to fill Carson’s boots but the network eventually decided to go with Jay Leno as the new face of the show.
After Leno departed from the show in 2009, Conan O’ Brien, the host of “Late Night” was poised to replace him, a decision that turned out to be a disaster since Conan was unable to maintain the ranking and ratings of the show. During this time, Leno went on to sign with another primetime show with another network but was eventually contacted by NBC to make a comeback in a bid to bring back the show’s ratings and viewership.
Jay Leno – 2nd Time
After the cancellation of the “Jay Leno Show”, Leno eventually returned and made a comeback at the “Night Show” and was successful in bringing back the viewership and TV ratings but soon faced stiff competition from rival show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, a competition which lasted fours after which the network eventually decided to replace Leno with Jimmy.
In February of 2014, Fallon took over and reassured viewers that the content and layout of the show would remain unchanged, a promise that he did indeed keep apart from changing the show’s location from Los Angeles to New York.