Johnny Carson is returning to television.
Turner Classic Movies has licensed 50 of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show interviews from the Carson Entertainment Group – including chats with some brighter bygone stars in the Hollywood firmament: Bette Davis, James Stewart, Fred Astaire, William Holden, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, Henry Fonda, etc.
TCM previously ran a series of Dick Cavett talk show interviews, with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Robert Mitchum, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. – which went on sale as a DVD collection. Cavett was writer for Carson, as well as “Tonight” show’s second host Jack Paar, before landing his own talk show
Anyway, many of the interviews in “Carson on TCM” have not aired since they first premiered on NBC.
Unlike Jay Leno, Carson owned the rights to his “Tonight” show broadcasts, not NBC.
“Carson on TCM” also will include an interview with Truman Capote, who had some pointed things to say about Hollywood stars.
And yes, TCM’s current “The Essentials” co-host Drew Barrymore will be included in the lineup – at age 7. None of her more-talented thespian ancestors, though -- sadly.
The project was pitched to TCM by Peter Jones, who also produced PBS’s docu “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” and Carson Entertainment Group prez Jeff Sotzing.
On TCM, Carson will be seen interviewing:
Sammy Davis Jr.
Mary Tyler Moore
George C. Scott