Jimmy Fallon will take over as host of “The Tonight Show” on Feb. 17, 2014. He will join a line of TV’s funniest men, including soon-to-be twice-retired host Jay Leno, “King of Late Night” Johnny Carson and Steve Allen, the “founding father” of late-night television.
Steve Allen (September 1954 to January 1957)The very first “Tonight Show” host, Steve Allen, announced to the audience on its debut in September 1954 that “this show is gonna go on forever.” Back then, the show ran from 11:15 p.m. to 1 a.m., and no one had high expectations for success. But Allen, whom The Washington Post once called one of the “founding fathers” of television, helped it break through. He also started the late-night tradition of a sidekick, which in his case was Gene Rayburn, also known as host of "Match Game."AP