Here’s Johnny… on Turner Classic Movies. The network, best known for its commercial-free programming of older films from the Turner Entertainment library, has licensed 50 interviews from “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” many of which have not aired since they first premiered, for broadcast in the summer of 2013 under the title “Carson on TCM.”
Among the interviewees: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, William Holden, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Mel Brooks, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, Robin Williams, a seven-year-old Drew Barrymore, Truman Capote, Sally Field, a pre-“Annie Hall” Diane Keaton, Ronald Reagan (almost a decade before his presidency) and Susan Sarandon.
“Carson on TCM” is the brainchild of producer Peter Jones, the writer and co-director of the “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night” episode of PBS’s “American Masters.” “What Johnny did better than anyone was to engage his guests in wonderful conversation,” said Jones. “I heard from many of the people who appeared on ‘The Tonight Show’ over the years that Johnny had the ability to bring out the best in the people he interviewed. He listened carefully and made his guests feel as though they were simply talking to a friend.”
In 2006, TCM set up a similar licensing deal with select episodes of “The Dick Cavett Show,” including interviews with Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and Groucho Marx.
Take a look at a promo for “Carson on TCM” below.