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|Tonight Starring Steve Allen|
|Presented by||Steve Allen|
|Narrated by||Gene Rayburn|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production locations||Hudson Theatre, New York City|
|Running time||105 minutes|
|Original release||September 27, 1954 – January 25, 1957|
|Preceded by||Broadway Open House|
|Followed by||Tonight! America After Dark|
|Related shows||The Steve Allen Show|
Tonight Starring Steve Allenis an American talk show hosted by Steve Allen. It was the first version of what eventually became known as The Tonight Show . Tonight was the first late-night talk show, as well as the first late night television series of any time to achieve long-term success. Allen's run as host of the show lasted for two and a half seasons, beginning in fall 1954 and ending with Allen's departure in January 1957.
During its run it originated from the Hudson Theatre in New York City.
Originally a local program airing from 11:20 p.m. to 12 midnight on WNBT New York as The Steve Allen Show, the program was moved to the full NBC network in the Fall of 1954. The first network episode of Tonight aired on September 27, 1954, and ran for 105 minutes instead of the 60-minute duration of modern talk shows (however, the first fifteen minutes were shown on very few stations). The announcer of the show was Gene Rayburn (who would eventually become a top-game show emcee, best known for his 22 years at the helm of the Match Game ) and the bandleader was Skitch Henderson. Allen's version of the show originated such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music; among the members of Allen's musical ensemble were Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, who later became a married couple.
The success of the show led to Allen receiving a separate weekly prime time show, which aired on Sunday nights. Allen gave up the Monday and Tuesday shows, with guest hosts taking over for the summer of 1956. Beginning that fall, Ernie Kovacs (who came over from the faltering DuMont Television Network) was the regular Monday and Tuesday host for the 1956–1957 season with his own cast and regulars, including his own announcer (Bill Wendell; who would later work with David Letterman) and bandleader.
A kinescope of the very first episode survives and Allen's opening monologue has been rebroadcast many times on Tonight Show anniversary specials and in documentaries such as Television. In his opening remarks, Allen makes the prescient statement that Tonight! "is going to go on forever" (an apparent reference to the show's run time, then clocking in at 105 minutes with commercials). With several hosts over the decades, it has done just that, albeit with a much different meaning than Allen intended.
Allen departed Tonight in January 1957 after NBC ordered Allen to concentrate all his efforts on his Sunday night variety program, hoping to combat CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show's dominance of the Sunday night ratings. Kovacs, instead of getting the show five nights a week, was let go, and a radical format change was made (see below).
After Allen's prime time show ended in 1960, he would intermittently return to the format he used on Tonight with syndicated programs bearing the name The Steve Allen Show, from 1962–1964, 1968–1969, and 1971.
Rather than continuing with the same format after Allen and Kovacs' departures from Tonight, NBC changed the show's format to a news and features show, similar to that of the network's popular morning program Today. The new show, renamed Tonight! America After Dark, was hosted first by Jack Lescoulie and then by Al "Jazzbo" Collins, with interviews conducted by Hy Gardner, and music provided by the Lou Stein Trio (later replaced by the Mort Lindsey Quartet, then the Johnny Guarnieri Quartet). This new version of the show was unsuccessful, resulting in a significant number of NBC affiliates dropping the show.The format returned to a comedy-oriented talk/variety program on July 29, 1957, with Jack Paar being brought in to host his own version of The Tonight Show.
A talk show is a television programming or radio programming genre structured around the act of spontaneous conversation. A talk show is distinguished from other television programs by certain common attributes. In a talk show, one person discusses various topics put forth by a talk show host. This discussion can be in the form of an interview or a simple conversation about important social, political or religious issues and events. The personality of the host shapes the tone of the show, which also defines the "trademark" of the show. A common feature or unwritten rule of talk shows is to be based on "fresh talk", which is talk that is spontaneous or has the appearance of spontaneity.
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The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show currently broadcast from the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center in New York City, the show's original location, and it has aired on NBC since 1954. The show has been hosted by six comedians: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon. It has had several recurring guest hosts including Ernie Kovacs during the Steve Allen era and Joey Bishop, David Letterman, Joan Rivers, George Lucas, David Brenner, and Jay Leno during Johnny Carson's stewardship, although the practice has been abandoned since Carson's departure, with hosts preferring reruns to showcasing potential rivals. The Tonight Show is the world's longest-running talk show and the longest-running, regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States. It is the third-longest-running show on NBC, after the news-and-talk shows Today and Meet the Press.
Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen was an American television personality, radio personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. In 1954, he achieved national fame as the co-creator and first host of The Tonight Show, which was the first late night television talk show.
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Eydie Gormé was an American singer who had hits on the pop and Latin pop charts. She sang solo and with her husband, Steve Lawrence, on albums, television, Broadway, and in Las Vegas.
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