On This Day…

The Tonight Show

September 27, 1954

The first network late-night talk show, Tonight, debuts on NBC with host Steve Allen. It would eventually become known as The Tonight Show. The show originated such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music.
The announcer of the show was Gene Rayburn (who would eventually become a top-game show emcee) and the bandleader was Skitch Henderson.
The show originally began in 1953 as a nightly 40-minute local program on New York’s WNBT-TV (now WNBC-TV), hosted by Allen and was originally titled The Knickerbocker Beer Show (after the sponsor), but was soon renamed The Steve Allen Show.