Contact Us

The Original “Tonight” Show Debuted On This Day in 1954

If you’re a night owl, you’ve probably caught “The Tonight Show” on NBC TV. On this day in 1954, the original late night program that started it all, “Tonight” premiered on NBC. Comic genius (in my opinion) Steve Allen was the first host, and in its 58 year history, the show has had a total of five hosts. (actually six as Jay Leno has a host stint twice).

For the record, here are the 5 or 6 “Tonight Show” hosts:

1. Steve Allen 2. Jack Paar (although the show’s name was changed to “The Jack Paar Show”),

3. Johnny Carson, 4. Jay Leno , 5. Conan O’Brien (for seven months) and 6. Jay Leno (again).

Over the years, careers were launched on “The Tonight Show” of everyone from Seinfeld to Rodney Dangerfield. And there were hundreds of fill-in hosts from Jerry Lewis, Burt Reynolds and Don Rickles to Joan Rivers and Hugh Downs!

Here’s a fascinating video clip from “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, featuring guest David Letterman (who hosted Late Night on NBC at the time) discussing Jay Leno as becoming the new show host (Letterman was bypassed and went off to CBS to host his own “The Late Show With David Letterman” on CBS)

Subscribe to Big Frog 104 on


Best Of Big Frog 104

Recommended For You

Best Of The Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Big Frog Rewards Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Big Frog Rewards Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.