American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night
(Rochester, NY) – For 30 years, Johnny Carson anchored himself as a fixture in American life with his personality on The Tonight Show. Two-time Emmy®-winning filmmaker Peter Jones explores the life, career, complexities, and contradictions of America’s greatest television icon in this two-hour documentary, American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, airing on Thursday, October 3 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011/11).
Narrated by two-time Oscar®-winner Kevin Spacey, the film features 45 original interviews with Carson’s friends, family and colleagues, including his second wife, Joanne, Dick Cavett, Doc Severinsen, and other The Tonight Show staff. Performers who appeared, or began their careers, on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson are also interviewed, including David Letterman, Jay Leno, Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Drew Carey, Garry Shandling, Steve Martin, Angie Dickinson, Ellen DeGeneres, Carl Reiner, Don Rickles, Bob Newhart,Joan Rivers, and David Steinberg. Late night TV hosts Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien also discuss Carson’s influence on their careers.
Quite possibly the biggest star that television has ever produced, Carson commanded, at his peak, a nightly audience of 15 million viewers – double the current audience of Leno and Letterman – combined. Rarely giving interviews, Carson chose to remain a very private man whose public persona made him an American superstar. He once revealed, “I can get in front of an audience and be in control. I suppose it’s manipulation. Offstage, I’m aloof because I’m not very comfortable.” American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night explores this dichotomy and enigma, unearthing clues about Carson’s childhood, early days in the business, and personal and professional life.
Pictured: Johnny Carson
Credit: Courtesy of The Carson Entertainment Group
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