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September 22, 2014

JohnnyCarson

Tom Bergeron: A Man's Guest Spot Is His 'Castle'

by Michael Maloney, posted Apr 9th 2010 9:07PM
'Dancing With the Stars' main man Tom Bergeron is playing Bobby Mann -- a late night talk show host who gets canceled permanently on the April 12 episode of 'Castle,' which airs on ABC immediately after the 'DWTS' two-hour performance show. It's up to series star Nathan Fillion and his TV detective partner, played by Stana Katic, to find out who killed Bobby.

AOL spoke with Bergeron, who weighed in on 'Castle,' the current -- and arguably most-talked about -- cast of 'Dancing With the Stars,' and how he handles those pesky TMZ.com interviews.

Read the interview after the jump.

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Comedians Cut Loose on Chris Hardwick's 'Nerdist' Podcast

by Mike Moody, posted Feb 24th 2010 2:03PM
Nerdist Drew Carey Johnny CarsonIt's always refreshing when a showbiz vet indulges in a passion project that's entertaining, informative and funnier than anything he's ever done before. That's exactly what 'Web Soup' host Chris Hardwick is doing with his latest online venture, The Nerdist Podcast.

Hardwick, 'Web Soup' writer Jonah Ray and pal Matt Mira launched the free-form podcast earlier this month. So far, they've posted three hilarious episodes featuring candid conversations with TV comedians Drew Carey, Tom Lennon ('The State', 'Reno 911!'), and Adam Corolla.

The show is worth a listen for anyone looking for a good laugh and some entertaining and honest conversations about life in the entertainment business. Nerdist gives Hardwick's famous friends a comfy venue to cut loose on countless topics and to tell personal stories you'll probably never hear anywhere else. (Most shows are recorded at the guest's home.)

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Jay Leno and the missed opportunity

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 18th 2010 1:15PM
jay_leno_the_tonight_showIt's been quite an amazing time at NBC the past ten days. The Jay Leno exit from prime time. The proposed 11:35-12:05-1:05 juggle. Conan's manifesto to the people of the earth. NBC executives lashing out and labeling Conan a failure and chicken-hearted. Jeff Zucker threatening Conan and his intellectual properties. And then the subsiding tide that will have The Tonight Show regressing, possibly becoming less an American television institution and more an American artifact of a time gone by.

Lost amid all this wrangling and back and forth is one fact that is undeniable. When NBC came up with the idea of all-Leno, all the time at 10 p.m. prime time, the network was giving him a precious gift. Jay Leno had been given Aladdin's lamp. NBC handed him an hour -- five hours -- of prime time television with an open invitation to create a new show. Imagine if that offer were made to another performer.

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Dear NBC: Just Let Jay Leno Go

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 12th 2010 6:30PM
Dear NBC,

There's a simple solution to your late-night dilemma, though you're not going to like it: Let Jay Leno go.

He's given you decades of yeoman service, including 14 years of top ratings on 'The Tonight Show.' But his time has passed. It's time to thank him for his invaluable contribution to the network, hand him a gold watch and let him spend the rest of his days puttering in his garage or doing stand-up in Vegas.

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Oprah's exit is like Johnny Carson leaving The Tonight Show

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 21st 2009 11:02AM
oprah_winfrey_head_shotAfter watching The Oprah Winfrey Show today and hearing her teary announcement about her decision to end her syndicated talk show, I had one thought in my head. Oprah Winfrey is doing a Johnny Carson. She's writing her own script (no pun intended). Oprah is leaving while she's still wanted, while she's still strong, and by setting the date 18 months down the road, she's giving herself a victory tour.

This is very much like Johnny Carson's decision to leave The Tonight Show. The difference, of course, is that Oprah's show is not an established landmark entity like The Tonight Show, which had Steve Allen and Jack Paar as hosts before Carson. No, Oprah was/is The Oprah Winfrey Show. She will not leave it behind for someone else to inherit the throne. She's taking the throne with her.

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Our Favorite TV Sidekicks: They're the True Stars of the Talk Shows

by Liane Bonin, posted Nov 18th 2009 4:14PM
On June 23, 2009, the trademark laugh of the greatest sidekick of all time was silenced as Ed McMahon floated up to the great sidekick couch on the sky. While Publisher's Clearing House commercials and 'Star Search' reruns will never be the same, the good news is that McMahon, who rose up in the wake of some pretty stellar sidekicks himself, set the bar high for those to follow.

Perhaps he set it too high, though, as newcomers to the talk show field like Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson have chosen to fly solo on their talk shows. And that's a shame. Like wine in a box and BBC America series, these straight men of the chat circuit are all too often underappreciated and overshadowed but consistently, inconspicuously deliver the goods.

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Macy's magical commercial: 150 years in the making

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 27th 2009 5:20PM
macys_worlds_largest_storeRecently, when I shared my view about a certain Dell computer commercial, some of you thought I was a moron. Okay, we'll call it a difference of opinion. However, just to show you that I'm not a grumpster, allow me to extol the virtues of the Macy's commercial that celebrates this iconic American department story that's been around for over 150 years.

What makes The Magic of Macy's so much fun is that it doesn't tell you why the place is legendary, it shows you why. All those film clips from movies and television, years before anyone was using mentions like these for commercial purposes, underscore how much a part of pop culture Macy's was.

(It still is, to some extent, but the days of one brick and mortar store dominating the business landscape are long gone.)

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New book gets behind the scenes with Letterman, Leno, Robin Williams and more

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 15th 2009 9:02AM
I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and high times in stand-up comedy's golden eraAnyone who's interested in the Leno/Letterman relationship, the feeding frenzy in the late 70s and early 80s when networks were sweeping up stand-up comedians and changing their lives overnight, and the importance and mechanics of getting a spot on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show needs to read William Knoedelseder's new book, I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era.

The centerpiece of the book is the labor discontent between comedians and the Comedy Store that kicked up in 1979, when comedians saw the money coming into the venue and started to wonder why some of the working comics there had to borrow money for breakfast. It's a compelling and unexpected story, and it collects names big and small from television history along the way.

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Don Rickles on the D-List, The Tonight Show, and more

by Nick Zaino, posted Jul 7th 2009 2:03PM
Don RicklesIt's always great to see Don Rickles on TV. He's rarely out of form, and he has a knack for sailing some great zingers past the censors. Which means his appearance on last night's My Life on the D-List was a perfect opportunity, a place where he could be a bit more loose.

We got a taste of that from him, walking around Kathy Griffin's house, but we also got a glimpse of the guy I have heard about from comedians who've met Rickles - the old softie who is ever willing to talk shop with other comics. It was a great moment when Griffin and Rickles talked about how both of their mothers would try to tell them not to pick on people so much, with Griffin's mom providing a bit of the dialogue. Meeting Rickles was on Griffin's mother's "bucket list."

I thought I'd use the occasion to take a look around YouTube to find some of Rickles' best TV appearances. He seems to have been everywhere, from The View to cable.

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Ed McMahon did not work for Publishers Clearing House

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 23rd 2009 6:40PM
Ed McMahonDuring some of the television obits I've been hearing about the late, great Ed McMahon, one of the most common misunderstandings about the Tonight Show sidekick's career has been perpetuated: that he worked for Publishers Clearing House, handing out big checks to unsuspecting sweepstakes winners.

Well, Ed did work for one of those sweepstakes-and-subscriptions houses, but it was PCH's main rival, American Family Publishers. He often appeared in the AFP's ads and mailings with his Bloopers and Practical Jokes buddy Dick Clark.

Not once did McMahon work for PCH, but as Bob pointed out in his obituary, jokes about his sweepstakes work often kept the mistake alive.

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Steven Wright's Pony on Letterman, top ten favorite lines

by Nick Zaino, posted Jun 5th 2009 11:03AM
Steven Wright - I Have a PonyIf you recognize Steven Wright's material tonight on his Late Show with David Letterman spot, you either have a good memory, or you bought the re-release of Wright's I Have A Pony that hit shelves Tuesday. Wright will be performing material from the CD, which was originally released 24 years ago.

Warner Brothers released this "Deluxe Anniversary Edition," which also includes his first HBO special, A Steven Wright Special (coincidentally, produced by Peter Lassally from Johnny Carson's Tonight Show), as part of its 50th Anniversary celebration.

Wright's material was always off the wall, unlike anything anyone had heard when he first did Carson's Tonight Show in 1982. Some have worked in the same field of quick-fire absurdism that Wright cleared (like Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin), but Wright's comedy was never rooted in a particular time, place, or even galaxy, really. Which is why I Have A Pony still sounds fresh today.

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Conan talks to reporters about "feeding the dragon" on the new Tonight Show

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 27th 2009 1:08PM
Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien
The world's armchair TV executives proudly proclaimed that the only way Conan O'Brien's cavalcade of foul-mouthed puppets and surreal pop culture mechanes could work every night at 11:30 p.m. is with a potent injection of Ritalin (present executive included).

O'Brien noted, however, that television has broken the time barrier.

"I think especially now, people don't watch an episode of Lost when they are supposed to watch it," he said during a recent conference call. "DVRs changed everything. The Internet has changed everything. People are getting it off Hulu and watching shows on their iPhone. What's most important to me with The Tonight Show is it needs to be funny so people can experience it at 11:30 or watch it the next morning while they're eating their oatmeal."

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Greatest 'Tonight Show' Moments

by AOL TV Staff, posted May 13th 2009 6:00AM
Hugh Grant The Tonight Show'The Tonight Show' has been a late-night institution for more than 50 years (yes, that's right -- half a century).

Jack Paar, who took over the reins from Steve Allen in '57, put the show on the map, with big-name guests and outspoken antics. Johnny Carson, who stepped in when Paar left, made the show appointment viewing for millions of fans and became one of the most beloved TV hosts of all time.

Now, with Jay Leno's last 'Tonight Show' airing Fri., May 29, and Conan O'Brien taking the desk while Leno makes the unprecedented move to prime time, to a 10 PM slot in the fall, we look back and count down the top 20 moments of 'The Tonight Show.'


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Craig Ferguson officially has the most badass mug in the history of late night

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 24th 2009 12:04PM
Craig Ferguson's rattlesnake mugThere are a lot of great traditions in the world of late night. Every host has to endure the wrath of Mother Nature's cruel comedy by letting an animal crap in their lap. Every host has to invite a nutball celebrity who is guaranteed to shoot up or snort something in the green room five seconds before their interview.

But one lesser known, some would say downright boring, tradition has gone by the wayside. Maybe that's because the choices are usually something boring. There was Johnny Carson's face mug, Conan O'Brien's Eisenhower mug and some boring old mug that's so dull, they couldn't even sell it in the gift shop to tourists who would buy a bag of puke if it had the Last Call with Carson Daly logo on it.

All of that changed when CBS' Craig Ferguson revived this grand tradition by jamming a cardiac needle of adrenaline into its heart with his mug.

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So how was Fallon's first week?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 9th 2009 11:02AM
JImmy FallonSo it's been a week since our boy took to the airwaves and he has survived. He went a whole week without being canceled. Way to go, Jimmy! You've cost half of our commenters their share of the dough in their "When will Jimmy Fallon go down in flames?" pools. Now where will they find the money to stock up on Cheetos and duct tape for their slowly dying bean bag chairs?

So how did Jimmy do? The answer, as I've learned in my brief stint here at TV Squad Land, is totally subjective. Some people are going to like Jimmy and some won't and each will find their own reason to support their feelings.

So instead of giving a definitive "yes" or "no," here's a list of five good things and five bad things from the first block of shows.

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