30 most shocking late night scandals

Credit: CBS
Credit: CBS /
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3. Johnny Carson’s retirement creates behind the scenes drama

For decades, Johnny Carson would entertain millions of viewers by hosting The Tonight Show. But in 1992, the time finally came for Carson to call it a day. With Johnny stepping away, NBC needed to find a permanent replacement for him as the host of the show. Johnny had who he thought was the perfect person in mind, but the network apparently did not agree.

At the time, Letterman’s Late Night was airing directly after Carson’s program. This left Letterman gunning for the spot as the new host of The Tonight Show, with Carson himself supporting him. It made sense for Letterman to be the natural successor. But amid controversy, NBC decided to go with Jay Leno instead, a decision which was widely criticized, even though Leno had already guest hosted The Tonight Show quite a bit.

Feeling spurned, Letterman left NBC altogether after being refused. He’d start his own show on CBS, Late Show with David Letterman, and air it directly against The Tonight Show. And thus, the years-long feud between Jay Leno and David Letterman was born. We always knew Letterman and Leno did not care for each other, and it all stems back to this particular incident.