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Carson Entertainment Group Signs with WME

Johnny Carson

WME will explore opportunities in the television, film, stage and digital spaces for "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

Carson Entertainment Group has signed with WME for representation in all areas, the talent agency announced Wednesday. CEG controls the licensing rights to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, including a library of archival footage from Carson’s 30 years as a late night host.

Jeff Sotzing, CEG president and Carson’s nephew, began to digitize and catalog the entirety of Carson’s popular Tonight Show library three years ago. The Tonight Show aired from 1962 to 1992, accumulating over 3,300 hours of footage. CEG and WME have partnered to explore opportunities in the television, film, stage and digital spaces. Carson’s archival show footage has received more than 11.7 million views on YouTube since being uploaded by CEG.

The late night icon interviewed more than 22,000 guests on his late night show, launching the comedy careers of David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling, Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and countless others. Carson died in January 2005.

Earlier this year, Sotzing and CEG launched a Facebook game and Carnac app with MediaMine, and they recently collaborated with filmmaker Peter Jones on his American Masters documentary King of Late Night, which drew 6.3 million viewers.