the tonight show

Johnny Carson and guest Carl Reiner 

the tonight show

Jay Leno in a 1994 Tonight Show episode with guest Alex Trebek

the tonight show

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien aired from June 2009 to January 2010


Jimmy Fallon with guest Tina Fey

Fill 1
Fill 1
May 13, 2024
Online Originals

The Tonight Show at 70

A look back at the NBC late-night staple's legacy, from Steve Allen to Jimmy Fallon.

For 70 years, The Tonight Show has served as one of television's most consistent — and consistently iconic — places for late-night banter and laughs. And for the last decade, those laughs have elicted from those seated opposite Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.

The former SNL cast member took over a desk once occupied by Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien on February 17, 2024, and will celebrate his tenth anniversary as host with a two-hour primetime special airing May 14 on NBC. In honor of that milestone, and The Tonight Show turning 70 in the same year, here's a breakdown of this TV staple by the numbers:

1,971: Total number of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon episodes that have aired as of press time.

6,714: Total number of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that aired.

4,610: Total number of episodes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that aired.

145: Total number of episodes of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien that aired.

62: Run time in minutes of a Tonight Show with Jay Leno episode. 

2.5: Number of seasons featuring the first Tonight Show host, Steve Allen.

105: Run time in minutes of a Tonight Starring Steve Allen episode. 

3: Number of title changes to the show during Jack Paar's tenure as host. Those titles were: Tonight Starring Jack Paar, The Jack Paar Tonight Show and The Jack Paar Show.

1: Number of times host Jack Paar asked asked a seemingly inebriated Mickey Rooney to leave the show.

4,000: Number of guests during Fallon's tenure.

1,500: Musical performances featured on shows hosted by Fallon. 

120: Holiday sweaters created and given away over the years on Fallon's show.

431 million: Number of views for the show's most-watched YouTube video, "Jimmy Fallon, The Roots & Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cast Sing Star Wars Medley (A Cappella)."

11: Total Emmy nominations

50 million: Number of estimated viewers that tuned in for Johnny Carson's final episode in 1992.

93: Times Joan Rivers appeared as guest host for Carson.

May 1, 1972: Date Carson's show moved from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York to NBC Studios in Burbank, Calif.

30: Number of seasons hosted by Carson.

22: Number of seasons hosted by Jay Leno.

5: Previous Tonight Show hosts: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno.

4: Number of popular guest hosts who presided over the show when Jack Paar was on vacation (Jonathan Winters, Johnny Carson, Orson Bean and the show's announcer, Hugh Downs.)

3: Number of Tonight Show band leaders under Carson's tenure — Skitch Henderson, Milton Delugg and Doc Severinsen.

1: Where McMahon's famous "Here's Johnny!" catchphrase ranks in a 2006 TVLand poll of U.S. TV catchphrases and quotes.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights on NBC.

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