Johnny Carson returns to late-night

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Credit: Antenna TV/Carson Entertainment Group
Credit: Antenna TV/Carson Entertainment Group

CHICAGO – “Here’s Johnny!”

Wednesday, Tribune Broadcasting announced a multi-year agreement with Carson Entertainment Group to broadcast Johnny Carson on Antenna TV, Tribune Broadcasting’s multicast network. This is the first time the Carson episodes will air in a strip since he went off the air in 1992.

Antenna TV airs in 102 markets across the United States, reaching 78% of all television households. Available in all of the country’s Top 20 TV markets, it will tuck in America each weeknight, with a 60-minute classic Carson episode airing at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT with a rebroadcast at 2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT.  On weekends, Antenna TV will run 90-minute episodes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a rebroadcast at 1:30 a.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT.

“During his Nebraskan boyhood, Johnny Carson dreamed of becoming a world-famous magician, and few would disagree that his three decade dominance of late-night television was anything short of magical.  Along the way, he pioneered the conversational presentation and generative comedic content that continues to inspire talent and entertainment programming to this very day,” said Sean Compton, President of Strategic Programming and Acquisitions, Tribune Media. “Thirty years later, Carson’s comedy and humor are just as relevant. We are thrilled to have acquired these programs to entertain existing fans and attract future followers.”

Twenty-three years after retiring from The Tonight Show and a decade after his death, Johnny Carson remains TV’s most popular late-night talk show host – the gold-standard for late-night television.  In his three decades as host, he interviewed some 25,000 guests, including celebrities like David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jim Carrey and comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and Drew Carey, all of whom got their start on Carson’s stage.

Antenna TV will unlock the vaults to bring viewers the most popular full-length episodes from the 70s, 80s and 90s, which have not aired on television since, including Jackie Gleason’s only appearance on the show, a joint appearance by Don Rickles and Frank Sinatra, Myrtle the Potato Chip Lady and Barney Odum and his tree-climbing dog.

Johnny Carson was America’s night light for 30 years.  The mantra of ‘we’ll watch the monologue and go to bed’ was the norm for millions of fans,” said Jeff Sotzing, President of Carson Entertainment. “The idea of running the show at the same time every night on Antenna TV will provide viewers with a feel for how the show was viewed originally. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to relive this wonderful piece of American history.”

“Carnac the Magnificent,” “Art Fern,” “Aunt Blabby” and all the other classic characters will return to the show billed as “Johnny Carson” on late-night television via Antenna TV beginning January 1, 2016.

Watch Johnny on Antenna TV on KFOR 4.2 (over the air channel) and on Cox Cable 247.

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