What Are Some Facts About "The Tonight Show" With Jay Leno?


Quick Answer

"The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno was the fourth incarnation of "The Tonight Show," following hosts Steve Allen (1954 to 1957), Jack Lescoulie (January to June 1957), Jack Paar (1957 to 1962), and Johnny Carson (1962 to 1992).

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Full Answer

In September 2000, Jay Leno hosted an episode of "The Tonight Show" entitled "The Tonight Show Unplugged," which was aired by candlelight in response to the California energy crisis. Grammy Award-winning Branford Marsalis was the original band leader, preceding Kevin Eubanks. Branford ultimately left the show due to unhappiness with his part in the show. During the last year with Leno as host, "The Tonight Show" cost about $1.7 million a week to produce, excluding Leno's salary and those of top producers.

One of the most successful recurring segments of the show was "Jay-walking," in which Leno would take to the streets to survey "common" people around Los Angeles. Most of the topics would revolve around current events and pop culture, with the interviewees generally being outrageously incorrect in answering Leno's questions. For example, one person thought Abraham Lincoln was the first president, and another couldn't identify Hillary Clinton from a picture.

The show was nominated for an Emmy award in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category 10 times between 1993 and 2005. It won the award in 1995.

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