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Fallon's 'tonight Show': A Throwback To Yesterday, Or Late Night

Kendra Wilkinson sextape</a> Leno starred in "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" from 1992 to 2009 and then moved to his own prime-time show, "The Jay Leno Show," on NBC. After a public controversy over scheduling changes while Conan O'Brien hosted the show in 2009, Leno returned to host "The Tonight Show" in 2010. Here, Leno jokes with Jerry Seinfeld in 1998.' style='float:left;padding:5px' />

Memories of Carson, on the other hand, are disappearing faster than the colors on an old 8-millimeter home movie. It's no wonder that his estate launched a YouTube channel in 2011. "You talk to someone under the age of 25, and they've heard the name web site and most of them know he was on the 'Tonight Show,' but his star is fading as the people who remember him go," says Robert Thompson, the head of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. Which is ironic, because it was Carson who really established the template for the late-night talk show. Though he wasn't the first to host "Tonight," it was Carson who became the security blanket for America for three decades, thanks to his skillful monologue, his way with guests, even his corny skits. His "Tonight" was also hugely popular: According to a 1978 New Yorker profile of Carson , in the mid-1970s it was attracting close to 20 million viewers. That's twice as much as the combined average audience for Leno, Letterman and Kimmel this season -- and about the same as the top-rated prime-time entertainment show of 2012-13, "The Big Bang Theory." But Fallon says he has a different model in mind for his "Tonight": the original host, Steve Allen. 'What I do is more a variety show' Allen is even less remembered than Carson these days, but his "Tonight" was a free-wheeling hodgepodge of chat, skits, piano-playing (Allen was a prolific composer who wrote " This Could Be the Start of Something Big "), ad-libbing, man-on-the-street interviews and loopy stunts. <br>More

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