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Sneak Preview: Carson on TCM

Last Fall, Turner Classic Movies announced it had acquired the rights to air select guest interviews from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Repackaged as hour-long episodes and hosted by Conan O’Brien (Conan, TBS), Carson on TCM will feature interviews with many of the stars viewers see on the network every day: Tony Curtis, Doris Day, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Robert Osborne’s Essentials co-host Drew Barrymore…when she was only 7 years old.

The King of Late Night, Johnny Carson. Image courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.
The King of Late Night, Johnny Carson. Image courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.

I managed to catch an early sneak preview of the first two episodes of Carson on TCM. Let me say this: you will not be disappointed. This series is beautifully produced and one of the greatest the network has ever put together.


Carson on TCM host, Conan O’Brien. Image courtesy of Turner Classic Movi
Carson on TCM host, Conan O’Brien. Image courtesy of Turner Classic Movi

At the beginning of each episode of Carson on TCM, host Conan O’Brien discusses a bit about Johnny Carson and his career. Before each interview clip O’Brien provides a bit of context and observation, which is necessary since the clips are edited. He does an outstanding job of guiding the audience without spoiling the fun. Many of these interviews have not been seen since they originally aired, so whether you watched Carson every night or you’re too young to have experienced his glorious reign, you’re definitely in for a great time. Just a note: the Carson on TCM repackaged episodes feature guest interviews only. So if you’re looking for Johnny’s sketches or banter with Ed (“Hiyoooo!“), you will not find them here. Matter of fact, Ed is only visible once in the first two episodes (thanks for running around, Steve!)

According to TCM, the Carson interview clips are from the Carson Entertainment Group and carefully curated by Peter Jones, producer of the excellent PBS American Masters documentary Johnny Carson: The King of Late Night.Each clip was already edited, leaving TCM with the job of adding in the series’ logo, original musical score (written by Emmy-winning composer Earl Rose, via Hollywood Reporter), and of course filming Conan O’Brien’s wrap-arounds.  The network obtained 50 interviews total, with the initial series featuring 25 interviews. The remaining 25 will be featured as interstitials.

Carson on TCM airs Mondays in July at 8pm (ET)

Episode 1: Monday, July 1

Interviews featuring Drew Barrymore, Kirk Douglas, Mary Tyler Moore, Neil Simon, and George Burns.

Here’s a clip from Carson’s interview with the amazing and always entertaining George Burns.

Episode 2: Monday, July 8th

Interviews featuring Doris Day, Charlton Heston, Chevy Chase with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Steve Martin, and Tony Curtis.

No available clips at this time, but this entire episode is pure GOLD.


Here is the promo for the entire series:


All 50 interviews (in alphabetical order)


Don Adams
Julie Andrews
Fred Astaire
Lauren Bacall
Lucille Ball
Drew Barrymore
Jack Benny
Candice Bergen
Carol Burnett
George Burns
Mel Brooks
Michael Caine
Truman Capote
Chevy Chase
Sean Connery
Bing Crosby
Tony Curtis
Bette Davis
Sammy Davis Jr.
Doris Day
Dom DeLuise
Angie Dickinson
Kirk Douglas
Sally Field
Henry Fonda
Goldie Hawn
Charlton Heston
William Holden
Bob Hope
Diane Keaton
Gene Kelly
Jack Lemmon
Steve Martin
Dudley Moore
Mary Tyler Moore
Gregory Peck
Tony Randall
Ronald Reagan
Burt Reynolds
Susan Sarandon
George C. Scott
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Neil Simon
Red Skelton
Sylvester Stallone
James Stewart
Elizabeth Taylor
Robin Williams
Jonathan Winters
Shelley Winters

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Jill Blake

Jill Blake is the owner of the classic film website Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. She is also a co-founder and editor of the film site The Black Maria and film editor at CC2K. In 2012, she was interviewed on-air by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. In 2013, she was a featured guest on the TCM podcast. In her spare time Jill is a stay-at-home mom, wife, fried okra connoisseur, and the neighborhood’s own L.B. Jeffries.



Thanks for this reminder, I can’t wait to tune in and watch these interviews. I shared it on fb, too. :)

Jill Blake


They are going to be a blast. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing on FB. I really appreciate it.

The Gal Herself

Oh, thank you for posting this! The series looks like great fun (and I was a huge fan of Johnny’s).

Jill Blake

You’re so welcome. I just received the full schedule. I need to edit this post and add. It’s going to be great!

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