Remembering a Television Legend

We note with sadness the passing this week of late-night television legend Johnny Carson. He didn't invent late-night television, but he reigned supreme in that realm for 30 years, from 1962-1992, and left his indelible imprint on it. He was a unique figure in the television business. During his 30 years as the king of
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We note with sadness the passing this week of late-night television legend Johnny Carson. He didn't invent late-night television, but he reigned supreme in that realm for 30 years, from 1962-1992, and left his indelible imprint on it. He was a unique figure in the television business. During his 30 years as the king of late night, he never hosted a prime-time special or had a book ghosted for him, and he never came back in a special or showed up in a goofy sitcom after his retirement.


Johnny retired before HDTV became a reality, but he did have one technological "first" to boast. "The Tonight Show" was the first network television show to be broadcast with stereo sound, in 1984, and, in 1985, became the first network program to be regularly broadcast in stereo. Thanks to an enthusiastic and progressive audio mixer, the show had been taped in stereo for some period of time before the 1984 broadcast. We might say that this made Johnny a pioneer of high-definition television audio. One thing we can say for certain is that there will never be another Johnny Carson.