21. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Jay Leno follows in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. Leno has created his own unique late-night style with a combination of humor, talk and entertainment each night at 11:35 p.m. ET - the wee hours when viewers want to wind down with a few laughs before drifting off to dreamland. Considered by many to be a "variety" show, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" features a nightly monologue and news-making guests, as well as ongoing comedy segments including "Headlines," "Tonight Show Side Show," "Jaywalking," and "Battle of Jaywalking All-Stars." The result is a unique look at today's pop culture. Honored for Emmy Awards in 1995 and 1996, "The Tonight Show" was also voted by readers of "TV Guide" readers as 'Favorite Late Night Show' in 1999 and 2000. Other notable achievements include: Leno's exclusive interview with Senator John Glenn and the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery; a pay-per-view wrestling match between Leno and Hulk Hogan; "The Tonight Show Unplugged" in response to California's recent power crisis; a sum of $360,200 raised for The Twin Towers Fund from auctioning Leno's celebrity-signed motorcycle; and a special 2001 Thanksgiving show broadcast live on Armed Forces Radio and Television Services to entertain U.S. military personnel worldwide. In addition, the program continued to make history in April 1999 when it became the first television series to be broadcast nightly in HDTV (high-definition television). The program has also proven to be a barometer of political clout. In 2000, the "Los Angeles Times" noted that "The road to the White House apparently leads through Burbank," as each presidential candidate -- Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bill Bradley and John McCain – appeared to demonstrate their relaxed, good-humored side during the presidential elections. Many of the world's most popular celebrities, musical guests and newsworthy names have recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" including: Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman, Billy Crystal, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Sharon Stone, supermodel Heidi Klum, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Vice President Dick Cheney, Mrs. Laura Bush, Gwyneth Paltrow, Shaquille O'Neal, Elton John, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Enrique Iglesias, Mel Gibson, 'N Sync, Jennifer Aniston, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Hanks and John Travolta. In addition to the star-power, the "Tonight Show" production team searches for the most interesting "civilian" guests such as kid inventors and individuals with quirky talents and funny stories. Guitarist Kevin Eubanks is the show's bandleader. Debbie Vickers is the executive producer. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" is from Big Dog Productions in association with NBC Studios.
The show has its finale in May 29, 2009 before it was taken over by Conan O'Brien for 7 months. After a brief network drama, the show is now returned to Jay Leno, who hosted the Jay Leno Show in primetime for 5 months.