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23 years after retiring from The Tonight Show – and a decade after his death – Johnny Carson remains TV’s most popular late-night talk show host, according to a 2015 Quinnipiac University Poll, 2015.
The Carson reruns, which will start January 1, 2016, mark the first time the shows will air in a strip since Carson went off the air in 1992. “We cannot wait to bring this show to fans who remember Carson and to a new generation of viewers who have never had the chance to see Johnny in his prime”.
Antenna TV has struck a multi-year deal with Carson Entertainment Group to license hundreds of hours of the NBC late-night institution. (And really, everybody back in the day just called it Carson anyway.)
Antenna TV plans on creating theme weeks, with episodes based around anniversaries and other milestones.
New episodes of the series air Sundays at 11:30pm ET/PT.
The series’ season two premiere on Sunday, July 26, ranked #1 in its time period among all key adults and men and charted triple-digit delivery gains over its prior season premiere (P18-24 +154%, P18-34 +117%, P18-49 +121%).
Tribune Media president, strategic programming and acquisitions, Sean Compton added: “During his Nebraskan boyhood, Johnny Carson dreamed of becoming a world-famous magician, and few would disagree that his three decade dominance of late-night television was anything short of magical”.
The idea of running the show at the same time every night on Antenna TV will provide viewers with a feel for how the show was viewed originally.
Carson Entertainment has marketed home video releases of full-length “Tonight Show” episodes in the past. There is certainly plenty of material to cull from: The Tonight Show featured the debut of numerous biggest stand-ups out there, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, and Ellen DeGeneres. From then on, Carson Entertainment invested in state-of-the-art archival technology to preserve his legacy – a focus that continues today.
The hope is that a combination of nostalgia and interest in the legend of Carson will drive broader sampling of the channel.