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Tribune Acquires Rights to Carson’s 'Tonight Show'

Tribune Broadcasting acquired rights to broadcast Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.

Episodes will air at 11 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET on Tribune’s digital broadcast network Antenna TV in 102 U.S. markets beginning Jan 1. The 90-minute programs will be rebroadcast at 1:30 am ET/10:30 p.m. PT.

Tribune says this is the first time Carson’s Tonight Show will air as a strip since the late-night legend retired in 1992.

“During his Nebraskan boyhood, Johnny Carson dreamed of becoming a world-famous magician, and few would disagree that his three decade dominance of late-night television was anything short of magical. Along the way he pioneered the conversational presentation and generative comedic content that continues to inspire talent and entertainment programming to this very day. Thirty years later, Carson’s comedy and humor are just as relevant. We are thrilled to have acquired these programs to entertain existing fans and attract future followers,” said Sean Compton, president of strategic programming and acquisitions, Tribune Media.

The episodes feature Classic Carson bits including Carnac the Magnificent, Aunt Blabby and Art Fern.

"Johnny Carson was America’s night light for 30 years. The mantra of ‘we’ll watch the monologue and go to bed’ was the norm for millions of fans. The idea of running the show at the same time every night on Antenna TV will provide viewers with a feel for how the show was viewed originally. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to relive this wonderful piece of American history,” said Jeff Sotzing, president of Carson Entertainment, which sold the rights to Tribune.