Today, late-night television is largely focused on politics – all with a little bit of satire on top. Some of your favorite talk show hosts from years ago are still active in the industry. In fact, many of them have moved on to hosting podcasts, which are one of the most popular versions of live-talk shows in the modern world. Let’s see what your favorite talk TV stars are doing these days!
Jerry Springer (Then)
If you got an invite to appear on the "Jerry Springer Show" in the ‘90s, you probably wouldn’t exactly be thrilled. After all, none of the guests on Springer were there to get good news. It was usually something like, “I’m not actually a woman, I’ve been lying to you for years.” It usually resulted in a lot of fists being thrown around the stage.
What was the audience did as the guests rolled around? They would egg them on as they cheered the host’s name. What a time to be alive, right? Let’s not forget to give a nod to the security guards, who spent several hours per day breaking up crazy fights.
Jerry Springer (Now)
Jerry Springer hosted his show for decades, from 1991 all the way through June of 2018, when it aired its final episode. Reruns of the show continue to air on the CW and will likely continue for some time. But we sadly lost our favorite reality talk show host in 2023.
The TV star worked as a lawyer for 15 years before landing his starring role as a host. He combined his experience in law and television as a judge on his show: "Judge Jerry." The show premiered in 2019 and featured Springer settling real civil cases. Jerry Springer sadly passed away in 2023 after a long battle with cancer.
Sally Jessy Raphael (Then)
Sally’s show ran from the early 1980s until 2002. On it, she covered a wide variety of topics, including people with religious beliefs that were on the extreme side, to pregnant teens that were getting in a lot of trouble at home. Like many talk shows, ratings varied based on the guests and topic of the day.
But the former host revealed that she wasn’t happy with the turn the show took for the last few years of its existence. While Sally enjoyed covering more meaningful topics, she felt as though it became too “tabloid,” and she was ready to give it up. But what did the talk show legend do after her long-running stint on daytime TV?
Sally Jessy Raphael (Now)
Known not only for her serious stare and ability to break down guests but also for her fiery red hair and ruby glasses, Sally hosted her show for nearly 20 years. After its abrupt end in 2002, she went on to host another show, this time, on the radio, between 2005-2008.
In 2010, she appeared as a guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," along with several other talk-show names. After her daytime talk show, Sally continued to work in radio, where she hosted a celebrity interview show on LogoTV.com. She also had a show called "Sally Jessy Rides."
Montel Williams (Then)
Before becoming a huge player in tabloid TV in the early 1990s, Montel Williams served in the US military for 15 years, with both the Marine Corps and Navy. But there is no denying that Williams became a real trailblazer in the world of talk show TV.
In 1991, "The Montel Williams Show" first aired, which also made him the first black man in history to host his own nationally syndicated television show. After being on the air for five years, he was awarded the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, an honor that he was nominated for several more times throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
Montel Williams (Now)
The final episode of Montel Williams’ show aired in 2008. He appeared a couple of years later in 2010, most notably on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." That very same year, he hosted his own radio show on Air America Media until they, unfortunately, shut down all operations.
Sadly, in 2018, he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Luckily for him, he had watched a Dr. Oz show that alerted him to the symptoms, so he was able to get help in time to pull through just fine. He remains active with the MS foundation, after being diagnosed himself back in 1999.
Ricki Lake (Then)
In 1993, Ricki Lake remarkably became the youngest person in history to host her own talk show, which aired for more than a decade. During that time, she tackled common lifestyle issues, like parenting problems and guests who were struggling with their identities within the LGBTQ+ community.
Occasionally, she would surprise the audience with a lighter theme, like fun contests and games with celebrities. After "The Ricki Lake Show" aired its final first-run episode in 2004, the host continued her career in the world of show business – in fact, the show actually made a return in more recent years.
Ricki Lake (Now)
Talks of bringing "The Ricki Lake Show" back began in 2011, and by 2012, it became a reality, with a more Oprah-style show than before. Unfortunately, it just didn’t gain as much traction as it had in the ‘90s, and it was canceled after just one season. It was, however, enough to win Lake the 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
Aside from working on the talk-show TV, she’s appeared in a number of roles in shows and films, including both the original and remade version of Hairspray." In 2019, she was revealed to have been The Raven on "The Masked Singer" on which she performed several songs in disguise.
Geraldo Rivera (Then)
Geraldo Rivera hosted his show, "Geraldo" from 1987 through 1998. Rivera got his start on TV as a reporter and was the first man to report on AIDS to the US public on network television. All of this, coupled with his stellar exposure of the mistreatment of patients with developmental disabilities at Willowbrook State School in Staten Island.
This all contributed to his popularity and led to his hosting his own show for 11 years. Guests on Geraldo ranged from US senators to convicted criminals. But even though the topics may have been serious, the show’s theatrics led to it being grouped in with the other trash TV shows.
Geraldo Rivera (Now)
Rivera has been wrapped up in his fair share of controversy. During his time as a war correspondent, he found himself facing negative media attention for various reasons. In fact, in 2003, the military actually kicked him out of Iraq. Why? He drew a map in the sand for viewers to see the exact location of the troops, for one.
Apparently, the commander of the unit he was accompanying told him to pack it up and move it out. But that wasn’t the only time he’d done something questionable on air. A few years before then, in 2001, he’d described an incident including a fire to viewers, only as it turned out, he was several hundred miles away from the alleged incident when it happened.
Oprah Winfrey (Then)
Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," you’re likely well aware of who she is. After all, she’s known for more than just her hosting days. Her show was on the air from 1986 until 2011 and included a wide range of celebrity interviews and covered topics. She was known for her exciting audience giveaways, as well, which came in the form of cash and gifts.
Some stories that were told on Oprah’s show were more memorable than others, and some received much higher ratings. And once her show aired its final first-run episode, it definitely wouldn’t be the last the world would see of the media mogul.
Oprah Winfrey (Now)
The same year that her show wrapped up, Oprah Winfrey was moving on to bigger and better things. One of those things just so happens to be buying her own television channel (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) which used to be Discovery Health Channel.
She also co-founded the super-popular network Oxygen. In 2018, Oprah announced that she had teamed up with Apple in creating some original programs for their streaming service. Outside of TV, the Queen of all media has co-authored five books and frequently puts things out on her website, Oprah.com, which sees more than 70 million views per month.
Maury Povich (Then)
Maury Povich is the king of baby daddy and baby mama drama. There is no one who can crush someone’s world as quickly and swiftly as this man can, and he does it all in just five words: you are not the father. The host got his start in 1986 on "A Current Affair" before being given his own show back in 1991.
While the usual theme of the show is paternity testing, he also would hold different types of specials, including his famous “Are they a man or a woman?” shows, as well as a variety of out-of-control teen shows.
Maury Povich (Now)
In March 2020, it was announced that Maury Povich's show had been renewed for the 2021-2022 season. In 2022, Maury announced that he had been married to news anchor Connie Chung since 1984, with whom he shares an adopted son. And that's not all. He also has a couple of daughters with his first wife.
Occasionally, other major films and TV shows will make a reference to the long-running talk series. Maury’s been mentioned on "South Park," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Mad TV" and even appeared in a parody clip of his show on Madea’s "Big Happy Family."
Whoopi Goldberg (Then)
Whoopi Goldberg was a huge star ‘90s, even becoming the single highest-paid actress of all time. In those days, she had a lot going on, like starring in the sitcom "Bagdad Café," along with playing in a ton of films, including "Ghost" and "The Long Walk Home."
In 1996 alone she starred in four major movies and won several awards, which include a Golden Globe for her work in "Sister Act," and an Oscar for her work in "The Color Purple." In 1992, her talk show, "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" hit the air. She used the platform to interview different celebrities and other public figures.
Whoopi Goldberg (Now)
Despite the brief run of her initial talk show, Whoopi Goldberg made a triumphant return to the world of hosting in 2007 with her first appearance on "The View." Throughout her tenure on the show, she has garnered attention for her occasionally controversial remarks, which have sparked debates and discussions.
Notably, her defense of Bill Cosby and Michael Vick drew widespread attention. In 2022, the multitalented entertainer delighted audiences once again, gracing the stage in a new musical production of "Sister Act," this time taking on the iconic role of Deloris Van Cartier. Whoopi continues to captivate audiences with her diverse range of talents.
Phil Donahue (Then)
"The Phil Donahue Show" debuted in 1967 and was on air for a whopping 29 years. The show spent a large portion of being filmed in Rockefeller Plaza, after its conception in Dayton, Ohio. Although there were many memorable moments on screen, one major thing Donahue’s show is well-known for is introducing a major audience to breakdancing and other forms of hip-hop culture.
In 1996, the last first-run episode of the show aired, after it’d taken somewhat of a tabloid spin. After the show’s cancellation, he retired for seven years. Then, in July of 2002, he appeared on MSNBC on a new show, Donahue. But that wouldn’t last for very long. In fact, in 2003, the show was abruptly canceled.
Phil Donahue (Now)
Although he was raised in a Catholic family, Phil Donahue wanted to do something to expose the Church’s mistreatment and coverups. That didn’t make him very popular at the time, but it certainly drew attention to where it was needed.
Over the course of his lengthy career in television, Donahue has earned an impressive 20 Emmy Awards – 10 for The Phil Donahue Show, and the other 10 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Donahue and his wife, Marlo Thomas, are known as “America’s favorite feminist couple,” and they published a book together called: "What Makes a Marriage Last ."
Rosie O'Donnell (Then)
This charismatic and effervescent TV personality, Rosie O'Donnell, embarked on her remarkable journey in 1996 by creating her own captivating talk show. With her magnetic presence and engaging conversations, the show quickly skyrocketed to fame. O'Donnell not only served as the host but also took on the role of producer for all six seasons.
Her show delved into a wide range of compelling topics, such as family dynamics, charitable endeavors, and significant events or notable individuals. It became renowned for its dynamic live band performances and animated discussions about Broadway productions. However, in 2002, O'Donnell made the heartfelt decision to bid farewell to the show, prioritizing cherished moments with her beloved children.
Rosie O'Donnell (Now)
In 2006, O’Donnell returned to the spotlight when she took a seat on "The View" as a replacement for Meredith Vieira. She is credited with taking the show in a more serious direction, although of course she still covered lighter topics with the other hosts, including food and celebrities.
In 2011, she began working with Oprah and creating some content for her station (OWN,) including "The Rosie Show." The TV legend has also appeared in a number of other shows and films, including " Will & Grace," " Nip/Tuck," " Mom," and more recently in "I Know This Much is True," "American Gigolo," and the remake of "A League of Their Own."
Jenny Jones (Then)
The "Jenny Jones Show" got its start all the way back in 1991, and originally covered more serious topics, in sort of an Oprah-style traditional talk show. But by 1993, it had become a wild ride, full of celebrity impersonations, out-of-control teens, paternity tests, and strippers. It got pretty crazy.
Then, in 1995, the show would be caught in a media whirlwind when one of her guests lost his life under tragic circumstances, just days after revealing a pretty big secret of an unwanted crush on the show. But the show went on, and Jenny Jones remained on the air through its cancelation in 2003.
Jenny Jones (Now)
In the present day, Jenny Jones continues to maintain a vibrant online presence through her own web domain, JennyJones.com. In addition to her website, she actively manages another platform dedicated to cooking and shares her culinary expertise through a dedicated YouTube channel. Beyond her digital ventures, Jones devotes herself to philanthropic endeavors and serves as a staunch advocate for women's health.
Her unwavering commitment led her to establish the Jenny's Heroes program in 2008, which aims to support and empower individuals within her community who are actively making a positive impact. While her current activities remain somewhat mysterious, Jenny Jones's passion for making a difference continues to shine through her various ventures.
Jay Leno (Then)
Jay Leno's initial foray onto "The Tonight Show" stage occurred in 1977, coinciding with his uncredited appearance in the film "Fun with Dick & Jane." However, it was in 1986 that Leno made his triumphant return to "The Tonight Show" as a substitute for the legendary Johnny Carson.
His impressive tenure as a guest host lasted until 1992 when he took over the reins as the permanent host, succeeding Carson. Leno commanded the late-night talk show realm for an impressive span of 22 years, captivating audiences until his final episode in 2014. At that point, he gracefully passed the torch to the talented Jimmy Fallon, leaving behind an unforgettable legacy on "The Tonight Show."
Jay Leno (Now)
Jay Leno has always been one hard-working dude. When his hosting days ended, he didn't just plop down on a La-Z-Boy and start snoring. He hit the road on a stand-up comedy extravaganza, cracking jokes in over 200 venues across North America. The guy's got serious comedy stamina! Awards? Psh, he's got 'em.
Jay's collected more trophies than a hoarder at a yard sale – from Primetime Emmys to People's Choice Awards. But here's the mystery: Leno went into stealth mode, disappearing from public life like a magician's rabbit. It's like he's playing a real-life game of hide-and-seek with his fans.
Joan Rivers (Then)
The indomitable Joan Rivers, a true Brooklyn-born icon, burst onto the scene with a bang when she made her unforgettable debut on The Tonight Show in 1965. Paving the way for future generations of female hosts, Rivers etched her name in history as the first woman to helm her own late-night network talk show, aptly titled "The Late Show with Joan Rivers."
But her journey didn't stop there; she continued to dazzle audiences and rack up achievements. In a triumph that left her clutching a Daytime Emmy, Rivers stole the spotlight as the host of "The Joan Rivers Show," a daytime sensation that charmed viewers from 1989 to 1993.
Joan Rivers (Now)
Around the same time that she was in the midst of her daytime talk show TV hosting career, Joan Rivers launched a successful line of jewelry, clothing, and beauty products that she sold on QVC. She also spent a lot of time doing celebrity interviews with her daughter Melissa on the red carpet at major awards shows.
Sadly though, to the dismay of many loving fans, Rivers passed away in 2014. Though her daughter continues to appear occasionally on screen, as she did in 2015’s "Joy." Her funeral was reportedly attended by more than 1,500 people, including Whoopi Goldberg and several other celebrities.
Howard Stern (Then)
"The Howard Stern Show" kickstarted its wild ride back in the ancient year of 1986, and lo and behold, it continues to rock the airwaves with its outrageous antics to this very day. Once upon a time, until 2005 to be precise, the show worked its magic on a nationally syndicated level, emanating from the terrestrial radio station WXRK in the vibrant concrete jungle of New York City. But then, a radio revolution occurred.
Since 2006, Stern's uncensored brilliance has found its home on SiriusXM, captivating listeners with his irreverent humor and boundary-pushing conversations. And let's not forget the star-studded guest list! From A-list celebs to captivating characters, Stern has effortlessly snagged interviews with anyone and everyone worth their fifteen minutes of fame throughout his astonishing 30+ years on the airwaves.
Howard Stern (Now)
In more recent times, a few incidents from the talk show’s past arose and gave way to some controversy. For one, a 1993 sketch in which he painted his face black. He also used a certain racial expletive on an episode of "The View."
He reminded those who criticized him for it that he has evolved since then, saying, “I don’t even know who that guy is sometimes.” The host has claimed that he’s had several offers to make a return to terrestrial, though he seems to be happy where he is at now. The show still receives its fair share of criticism as time goes on, and Stern continues to “stir the pot,” even today.
Stephen Colbert (Then)
The comedic journey of Stephen Colbert kicked off in 1998 when he graced the screens of Comedy Central, multitasking on both "Strangers with Candy" and "The Daily Show." The former, a quirky gem, enchanted viewers for 30 hilarious episodes before being transformed into a Sundance-screened film.
But Colbert's true claim to fame came in 2005 when he assumed the mantle of his most renowned role as the host of "The Colbert Report." For a decade, he fearlessly dissected the political landscape and left audiences in stitches. Then, in 2015, Colbert bid adieu to his beloved alter ego and ventured into uncharted territory as the successor to the legendary David Letterman on "The Late Show."
Stephen Colbert (Now)
Since Stephen Colbert took the driver's seat of "The Late Show," the show has taken a hilarious detour into the world of politics, leaving behind the more traditional vibe of the Letterman era. Colbert's fascination with all things political knows no bounds. In fact, he once shocked everyone by announcing his grand plans to run for president in 2008.
With campaign antics kicking off in 2007, it's safe to say he wasn't exactly taken seriously, and his presidential dreams remained in the realm of comedy. But hey, that didn't deter Colbert from using his platform to create some political ripples.
Garry Shandling (Then)
The legendary Garry Shandling is a comedic maestro who stole hearts with his own talk show extravaganza, aptly titled "It's Garry Shandling's Show." But wait, there's more! Shandling's comedic brilliance extended to "The Larry Sanders Show," a sitcom that hilariously spoofed the late-night television scene.
This satirical gem remains widely hailed as one of the most influential shows of all time, racking up a jaw-dropping 20 major awards, including not one, not two, but three Primetime Emmys! Garry Shandling's ingenious blend of wit and parody left audiences in stitches and ensured his well-deserved spot in the comedy Hall of fame.
Although the comedic genius Garry Shandling bid farewell to this world in 2016, his laughter-filled legacy reverberates through the world of comedy, spanning a remarkable four decades. Along his illustrious journey, Shandling garnered accolades and recognition, earning nominations for two Golden Globes and an impressive 19 Emmy Awards.
Even in the twilight of his career, he graced the silver screen one last time in the poignant film "Dying Laughing," leaving a huge mark before departing. A testament to his enduring impact, a documentary named "The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling" emerged two years after his passing, offering a heartfelt glimpse into the life of this comedic luminary.
David Letterman (Then)
David Letterman, an iconic figure in the realm of talk show television, has enthralled audiences for over three decades with his inimitable charm. In a breakthrough moment, he burst onto the scene in 1982 as the host of "Late Night with David Letterman" on NBC, instantly captivating viewers with his distinctive wit and offbeat humor.
His profound impact on the medium did not go unnoticed, as TV Guide hailed him as one of the greatest TV stars in history, securing a well-deserved spot among the top 50. Furthermore, the illustrious magazine ranked his show an impressive seventh on the esteemed list of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
David Letterman (Now)
David Letterman mesmerized audiences across a staggering 6,050 episodes before bidding farewell to the late-night stage. In 2014, he dropped the bombshell, announcing his impending retirement and revealing that the following year would mark his final bow. However, retirement did not keep Letterman away for too long.
In 2018, he triumphantly returned to our screens with a brand new show on Netflix, aptly named "My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman." And who better to kick off the grand reunion than the charismatic former President Barack Obama, setting the tone for a captivating lineup of extraordinary guests to come.
Marc Maron (Then)
The brilliant Marc Maron was a familiar face on David Letterman's stage during the illustrious 1990s and 2000s. As a frequent guest, Maron's presence became a delightful staple, paving the way for his own ventures in the talk-show realm. One notable gem was "The Marc Maron Show," his late-night radio masterpiece that emanated from the vibrant city of Los Angeles.
Mirroring the format of its contemporaries, Maron's show flawlessly blended the worlds of politics and comedy, captivating audiences with his razor-sharp wit and astute observations. With a finger on the pulse of the times, Maron carved his own unique path.
Marc Maron (Now)
In 2009, Maron launched a podcast that he hosted twice every week called "WTF with Marc Maron." The show, which was based out of his garage, saw a ton of guests from the world of comedy, who showed up for free-talk style interviews with the host.
The podcast wound up winning awards, including the award for Best Comedy Podcast at the 2012 Comedy Central Comedy Awards. You might also recognize him from Netflix's "Glow" which ran from 2017-2019. Sadly, Maron's girlfriend Lynn Shelton passed away in May 2020. And yet, he managed to turn this earth-shattering moment into material in his recent comedy specials.
Craig Ferguson (Then)
How can we forget the seasoned Scottish-American TV personality who is Craig Ferguson? This guy has mastered the art of talk show hosting over the years. From 2005 to 2014, he commanded the late-night stage with his own highly acclaimed show on CBS. But the fun didn't stop there.
In a fortunate turn of events, he found himself in the role of host for the popular game show "Celebrity Name Game," a gig that earned him not one, but two shiny Daytime Emmys. And let's not forget his charismatic guest appearances on other esteemed talk shows, including those helmed by Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and the legendary David Letterman.
Craig Ferguson (Now)
In addition to his accomplishments in the entertainment industry, Craig Ferguson expanded his creative endeavors beyond the screen. In 2006, he showcased his literary talents by publishing a novel titled "Between the Bridge and the River." Demonstrating his versatility, Ferguson made a special appearance at the Los Angeles Festival of Books to promote his literary work.
Although he has been less visible on screen in recent times, Ferguson continues to explore different avenues within the media landscape. In 2019, he lent his voice to the character of Gobber in the animated film "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World." Prior to that, he ventured into voice acting with another animated feature, "Duck Duck Goose," the year before.
Jimmy Fallon (Then)
Jimmy Fallon is an inspiration to all of those who tick their parents off by dropping out of college and moving to Los Angeles to pursue their passions. That is exactly what he did, just a semester short of graduating, in an effort to make his dreams in comedy come true.
At one point, it seemed like Fallon had a shot as an actor, showing up in movies such as "Almost Famous." After rising to fame on "SNL," which was where he would hope to end up when he started his journey in entertainment, he found himself hosting his own late-night show – something he is still doing until the present day.
Jimmy Fallon (Now)
Jimmy Fallon continues to shine as a prominent figure in late-night television, captivating audiences with his charismatic hosting style. Beyond his successful tenure as a talk show host, Fallon has showcased his acting talents in various television shows and films, such as "Taxi" and "Get Hard."
Fans can also anticipate his voice acting skills in the upcoming animated film "Hotel Transylvania 4," where he will lend his voice to the character of Brian, slated for release in 2021. Fallon's remarkable talent and dedication to his craft have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his collection of accolades, including two People's Choice Awards for The Nighttime Talk Show of the Year.
Ellen DeGeneres (Then)
Ellen DeGeneres burst onto the talk show scene back in 2003, and her infectious energy continued to captivate audiences for the next couple of decades. With a refreshingly upbeat approach, Ellen embraced a lighthearted atmosphere on her show, engaging in lively dances with her enthusiastic studio audiences.
The result? A delightful blend of entertainment and laughter that had become her trademark. As a testament to its enduring popularity, the show amassed an astonishing 171 Daytime Emmy Award nominations, surpassing even the queen of talk television herself, Oprah Winfrey. Not stopping there, Ellen's show also claimed 17 coveted People's Choice Awards.
Ellen DeGeneres (Now)
Following some controversy surrounding her treatment of employees, Ellen DeGeneres made a significant announcement on May 12, 2021. She revealed that her long-running show would conclude after its 19th season in 2022. But it hasn't been all doom and gloom for her.
Outside of her television career, Ellen and her wife, Portia, share a passion for veganism and advocate for the welfare of sentient non-human animals. In 2017, Ellen collaborated with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to raise awareness and combat the transportation of animals targeted by trophy hunters. Through her efforts, she strives to bring attention to this issue and work towards ending such practices.
Dick Cavett (Then)
The ever-enduring presence of Dick Cavett was a true television stalwart. A remarkable run that surpasses all others on this list, Cavett has been hosting his own show intermittently since the illustrious year of 1968. A testament to his prowess, he has secured an impressive ten Emmy Award nominations, graciously taking home three of those coveted golden statuettes.
While he may not have outshone the incomparable Johnny Carson in terms of ratings, Cavett carved a niche for himself as the embodiment of the "thinking man's talk show host." His intellectual charm and engaging conversations left audiences yearning for so much more.
While he is best known for his iconic interviews, Dick Cavett has also experienced both love and loss throughout his life. While he was previously married to actress Carrie Nye, his heart found solace in his second wife, author Martha Rogers. Their marriage, which began in 2010, brought joy to their Connecticut home until Rogers' untimely passing in 2016.
In early 2020, Cavett took a seat on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to discuss his HBO special, "Ali and Cavett: The Tales of the Tapes." This captivating documentary explores the captivating interviews between Cavett and the legendary Muhammad Ali, providing a glimpse into their remarkable encounters.
Johnny Carson (Then)
Following his service in the US Navy during World War II, Johnny Carson embarked on his remarkable journey in the world of entertainment. Swiftly rising to the status of a celebrity icon, Carson's star would shine brightly for the remainder of his life. In 1962, destiny beckoned as he secured the coveted position of the host of "Tonight."
He originally hesitated to take the role, deeming the prospect of daily celebrity interviews lasting a staggering 105 minutes as potentially tedious. Fortunately, fate intervened, as Carson recognized the golden opportunity before him, ultimately accepting the role that would forever change the landscape of late-night television and captivate the hearts of viewers across America.
Johnny Carson (Now)
While we may laugh about it now, the power of a talk show host's words should never be underestimated. Johnny Carson, the beloved late-night legend, proved this when he made a playful joke about a toilet paper shortage in 1973.
Little did he know that his humorous remark would trigger a nationwide frenzy of panic buying, creating a genuine shortage of TP. It's a testament to Carson's influential charisma that he could single-handedly ignite such a phenomenon. Although he retired from the talk show scene in the early '90s, Carson's impact and legacy continue to resonate even after his passing in 2005.
Jon Stewart (Then)
Jon Stewart, a multifaceted talent in the entertainment realm, initially made his mark as a stand-up comedian before seamlessly transitioning into roles as a writer, producer, and accomplished TV personality. According to the man himself, his trajectory toward stardom can be traced back to his memorable 2006 appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman."
This pivotal moment propelled Stewart to new heights, leading him to create his own eponymous show, "The Jon Stewart Show," in 1993. Building on this success, he would go on to cement his place in late-night television history as the beloved host of "The Daily Show," wowing audiences with his sharp wit and incisive political commentary.
Jon Stewart (Now)
These days, Jon Stewart may not have a regular on-screen presence, but his influence in the world of talk show television continues to shine. While he may be working behind the scenes as the executive producer on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," his impact is undeniable.
Stewart's talent extends beyond producing, as he recently showcased his skills as a writer and director with the political satire film "Irresistible." And in 2021, he returned to the spotlight with his own show called "The Problem with Jon Stewart," where he fearlessly tackles societal issues with his signature wit and insightful commentary.
Conan O’Brien (Then)
Armed with a Harvard degree, Conan O'Brien set his sights on Los Angeles, embarking on a journey as a writer in the entertainment industry, notably contributing to "The Wilton North Report." However, it was in 1988 that fate intervened when his talent caught the attention of someone from the prestigious SNL, opening the doors to a career-defining opportunity.
Conan spent fruitful years honing his comedic prowess on SNL and further contributing his wit to the beloved animated series, "The Simpsons." Eventually, he ventured into the realm of talk show hosting, captivating audiences with his unique style and infectious humor. From that point on, Conan graced television screens with his own talk shows, a legacy that would extend well into the 2020s.
Conan O’Brien (Now)
Since 2018, Conan O'Brien has been gracing the airwaves with his wildly popular podcast, aptly named "Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend." The show has attracted an impressive roster of guests, including influential figures like Michelle Obama and Stephen Colbert. In addition to his podcasting endeavors, Conan delivered a memorable commencement speech to the graduating class of his alma mater in 2020.
In the midst of the pandemic, the speech was part of a virtual ceremony, ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved. And in a remarkable turn of events, in May 2022, Conan's podcast and his digital media company were acquired for a staggering $150 million.