Who replaced Johnny Carson right after he retired? David Letterman or Jay Leno?


Letterman used to be on Nbc

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Jay Leno

    Even after cable began to cut into network viewership in the '80s, Carson was still doing his best work. He won a Peabody Award in 1986, to go with the four Emmys he and "The Tonight Show" won between 1965 and 1992, when Carson retired and turned the show over to Jay Leno. Source:


    Helpful | Not Helpful feedback submitted The first time that Wing had done the show, the year before, Jay Leno (who was then Carson's regular substitute) had been sitting behind the desk. When it came time for the Sarnia, Ont., native to come out from behind the curtain, Leno inadvertently provided a memorable introduction – by stumbling over the name of the comic's hometown. Source:


    Helpful | Not Helpful feedback submitted After the move, Carson stopped doing shows five days a week. Instead, on Monday nights there was a "guest host" (leaving Carson to do the other four each week). Joan Rivers became the "permanent" guest host from September 1983 until 1986, when she was fired for accepting a competing show on the startup Fox network without consulting Carson first. Thereafter, The Tonight Show returned to using various guest hosts, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno then became the exclusive guest host in the fall of 1987. Eventually, the pattern became relatively set.

  • 4 years ago

    David Letterman. No question about it. Dave was on at 12:30 following Johnny, and when NBC hired Leno, Letterman jumped to CBS at 11:30. Leno sucks

  • Tony M
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It was Jay Leno. David Letterman was on NBC, but he was on at 12:30 am, after Johnny Carson.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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    Johnny was prepping Letterman to replace him by having him guest host so much. THen NBC chose Leno. The Late Shift movie is NOT accurate. And David was crushed. He asked Johnny what he'd do if he were in his shoes, and Johnny said "I'd walk". So David left NBC and CBS grabbed him and bought the Ed Sullivan theatre for his show. Johnny only appeared on TV after his retirement by doing walk-ons and short jokes for David. He never appeared with Leno. And at one point Carson would send jokes he had written to David. One night David did his whole monologue using Johnny's jokes. He said this later. He and Johnny were very close.

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  • 4 years ago

    Who Replaced Johnny Carson

  • 1 decade ago

    Jay Leno. Letterman is on a different network

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Jay Leno. Letterman was Johnny's replacement on nights he couldn't make it, but when Johnny retired, Leno got the full time job.

  • 5 years ago

    Originally it was going to be Letterman but Leno had been guest-hosting Johnny's show since the late 80's and so he was given the job while Letterman moved to CBS.

  • 1 decade ago

    Jay Leno and I had never heard of him at the time.

  • 1 decade ago

    Leno, right from the get-go

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