Johnny Carson archive goes online

Site offers clips, licensing; Carson DVDs coming, too

NEW YORK - Welcome to the digital age, Johnny! The best of legendary "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson is now available in an online archive and coming to DVD.

Carson Entertainment Group on Wednesday said it has opened its TV archive for the first time at, which allows fans to view select clips (including a 1977 Jay Leno appearance). For industry folks, the site provides a clip licensing service with 3,300 hours of searchable show content.

The Carson archive was stored in a salt mine in Kansas until 1999 and was transferred into digital form starting last year.

Fullerton, Calif.-based Carson Entertainment, which has managed the footage of the late TV host, also announced plans for a series of DVDs featuring the TV comedy icon.

"We have received so many inquiries and requests for this material over the years that we have taken steps to make the materials more accessible and instantly searchable," said Carson Entertainment president Jeff Sotzing, nephew of Carson and former "Tonight Show" producer.

He said segments from the archives have been used in such films as "Fargo," "Talk to Me" and "Watchmen."

Sotzing told THR that Carson had the vision to negotiate to have the rights to the "Tonight Show" library well before the dawning of the digital age.