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This Day in History - 9.28.2011 (Part 2)

From Carson to Comedy: Johnny Carson and the Rise of SNL


By Katlyn Jackson

September 28 marks two significant events regarding television broadcasting. (1) On that date (Sept. 28) in 1962, Johnny Carson took over as host of NBC's Tonight Show from Jack Paar. With Carson at the helm, the show would air both during the week and on weekends until 1975. (2) Then, on that date (Sept. 28) in 1975, weekend airings of the Tonight Show ended due in large part to Carson, who wanted airings of the show to be reserved for weekdays. In addition to giving Carson some well deserved time off, this event was significant, as it created an open timeslot that NBC would later fill with Saturday Night Live.

If not for these two events, Saturday Night Live might not have been created. Saturday Night Live is one of the longest running network programs in the US, with over 700 episodes and spanning 36 seasons. The huge success of SNL in the US has prompted other countries to create their own versions. The Tonight Show is currently the longest running regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States and the third longest running program on NBC. It is also aired in 17 countries around the world. Both these events helped to popularize late night television in the US and around the globe.