As Jimmy Fallon takes the lead as the sixth host of The Tonight Show, we all want to bone up on our Tonight knowledge, right? To get you started – and to ensure you have all the water cooler chat ammunition you might need – here’s a quick primer to all the great information on The Tonight Show we have on tap!
1. The History of ‘The Tonight Show’
Start here. Find out why The Tonight Show is such an important part of the American television landscape – and why everyone is making such a big deal about the show’s newest host.
2. Hosts of ‘The Tonight Show’
Next, find out more about all six hosts of The Tonight Show – Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Wonder why so many show hosts have names that begin with the letter ‘J’.
3. Johnny Carson Biography
If you read no other biography about Tonight Show’s hosts, you gotta read about Johnny. It’s safe to say that he is truly the king of late night television – the gold standard to which every talk show host aspires. He is the reason why a new host is such a big deal for The Tonight Show.
4. ‘The Tonight Show’ Band
The Tonight Show band is almost as iconic as the show itself. And the show’s bandleaders are nearly rock stars in their own right (some have been rock stars, in fact). Besides, who doesn’t want to learn more about guys named Skitch and Questlove?
5. The Letterman-Leno Shift
Jay Leno’s tenure on Tonight is marked by controversial host transitions. The first is this one – and it is legendary. Should David Letterman been the next host of Tonight? A lot of people think so (maybe even Johnny Carson). So why isn’t he? Find out.
6. The Leno-O’Brien Shift
When Leno retired from Tonight in 2009, he didn’t leave without a fight. And though he got a primetime show, when it went sour, Leno had no intention of leaving the network. That left Conan O’Brien in a tough spot. How’d he react? It’s a story to hear!
7. Leno’s Second Retirement
You think Leno’s latest departure would be completely without controversy? Not so.
8. ‘Tonight Show’ Host Controversies
And to be fair, Leno is hardly the first Tonight host to cause a brouhaha. Find out who else has stirred up trouble over the last six decades.
9. Jimmy Fallon Biography
Finally, learn a little bit more about the show’s sixth host. Many believe – myself included – that he’ll be the greatest Tonight host since Carson. More »
10. How to Get Free Tickets to Tonight
And if that all sounded like loads of fun, then check out the show for yourself!