Late Night

 Audio Guide

Late Night Television

Narrated by David Bushman, Television and Mass Media Curator for The Paley Center


One early adopter of the late night TV format was a woman, though her show was short-lived. Faye Emerson’s Fifteen with Faye premiered in 1950 with offerings often found in later nighttime talk shows. After Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs moved on from Tonight, NBC reformatted the program into a news and features show, but the ratings were a disaster. So Tonight returned with a new host, Jack Paar, who made waves one episode when he walked off mid-show to protest the censorship of a joke. Before moving the show to LA, Johnny Carson married Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki on his New York stage in 1969. Jay Leno’s controversial selection over Letterman, Caron’s personal choice as Carson's successor at Tonight, inspired a book and a movie, The Late Show. Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show shifted between New York and LA, but it was here in New York that he conducted one of his most famous interviews with The Beatles’ John Lennon in Lennon’s last ever interview. And Comedy Central’s The Daily Show launched in New York in 1996 but didn’t take off until Jon Stewart became the host two years later.