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TCM Licenses Classic Johnny Carson Interviews

Johnny Carson Sylvester Stallone - H 2012
Sylvester Stallone on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

The “Tonight Show” chats with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas and Diane Keaton can be seen on the cable network starting this summer.

The King of Late Night is coming to Turner Classic Movies.

Next summer, the cable network will unveil “Carson on TCM,” a showcase of memorable interviews from Johnny Carson’s three decades as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show.

TCM announced Tuesday that it has licensed 50 interviews from the Carson Entertainment Group archives, including chats with such Hollywood legends as Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Truman Capote and Elizabeth Taylor. Many of the interviews have not aired since they premiered.

Curated by filmmaker Peter Jones (PBS' Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, TCM's Stardust: The Bette Davis Story), Carson on TCM will kick off as five-interview showcases, then air as single-interview interstitials highlighting stars whose films are featured on TCM.

“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.”

The Carson on TCM interviews also include appearances by Henry Fonda, William Holden, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Mel Brooks, Burt Reynolds, a 7-year-old Drew Barrymore, Sally Field, Diane Keaton, Ronald Reagan, Carol Burnett and Susan Sarandon.

“Johnny Carson set the gold standard for generations of talk show hosts with his candid, funny and often very revealing interviews with everyone from legendary screen icons to young newcomers," said Tom Brown, vp original production at TCM. “Carson on TCM offers classic movie fans the perfect chance to see their favorite stars chatting with one of the most beloved figures in television history.”

In 2006, TCM licensed episodes of the critically acclaimed talk show The Dick Cavett Show, including in-depth interviews with such iconic figures as Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Groucho Marx.

Click here for a look at TCM’s promo for the interviews.

E-mail: Mike.Barnes@THR.com

Twitter: @mikebarnes4