Television is saturated with late-night programs. Scratch that: Television is saturated with late-night programs hosted by white men. Late-night needs a shakeup, but in the meantime, Paul Reiser is making a comedy set behind the scenes of an iconic late-night show hosted by an iconic white man, which will be coming soon to Seeso. NBC’s streaming network announced that it has ordered an eight-episode series called There’s…Johnny!, created by Reiser and co-written with David Steven Simon. There’s…Johnny! is a scripted comedy set backstage of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1972, when the show first moved from New York to Burbank. (Jimmy Fallon brought it back to New York in 2014.)
There’s…Johnny! follows the life of Andy, a 19-year-old from Nebraska who stumbles into a job on the Tonight Show, and Joy, a talent coordinator for the show, touching on the politics, culture, and historical events of the early ’70s through the story of these two young people working in late night. And even though it’s a behind-the-scenes story, There’s…Johnny! will also mix in authentic archival footage of Carson and guests to ground the show in reality. It’s being produced in conjunction with the Carson estate, and Reiser will reportedly have unprecedented access to the full Carson archives in making his show.
“Growing up, the coolest thing imaginable was to someday get on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and make Johnny laugh. The fact that I got to do that was a dream come true, and going back now to explore that world, and pay homage to Johnny and that golden time is an absolute joy,” Paul Reiser says.
“1972 was as chaotic as today—cultural unrest, an unpopular war, an election that would change politics forever,” Evan Shapiro, Executive Vice President of Digital Enterprises for NBCUniversal, adds. “Despite that, each night, from a studio in Burbank, a bunch of folks put on a show that made all of America smile, together. This inventive story looks back, and inward, at just how important humor is to the American psyche. Plus, the chance to bring both Paul Reiser and Johnny Carson back to the NBCUniversal family is an awesome, once in a lifetime thing.”
Reiser first appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1982, and you can watch his set here: