Johnny Carson is getting his own 24-hour channel on DirecTV.
Starting Oct. 1, the satcaster will offer pay-per-view telecasts of Carson-era “Tonight Show” segs, edited and repackaged as “The Johnny Carson Show.” For $1.99 a shot, Carson fans can order up a different “Tonight Show” compilation — monologues included — each week.
“Since the last show in 1992, we have had a steady stream of requests from viewers to see reruns of their favorite episodes,” Carson said in a statement. “We have hand-picked the best shows we could find. … I hope people will enjoy looking back at some terrific moments from the show.”
Each hourlong PPV edition of “The Johnny Carson Show” will feature condensed versions of three “Tonight Show” episodes spanning from 1980 until his farewell broadcast on May 22, 1992. Carson controls the rights to his “Tonight Show” canon from 1980 on.
The PPV “Johnny Carson Show” be available 24 hours a day on DirecTV’s channel 198.
Carson, who is a DirecTV subscriber, credited DirecTV prexy Eddy Hartenstein with approaching him with the idea for showcasing the library.
“Best of Carson” highlight reels have run in recent years on the Family Channel and other cablers, as well as being available on homevideo for some time. The selling point for the DirecTV package is that the shows, while condensed, will offer a much longer look at Carson broadcasts from the last dozen years of his 30-year run in latenight.
DirecTV increasingly has been on the hunt for unusual and exclusive programming to aid its effort to compete with cable operators in the domestic subscription TV market.
“Every week, these classic Carson episodes will take our subscribers down a hilariously nostalgic trip down memory lane, reminding viewers that Johnny Carson will forever be the king of latenight TV,” said DirecTV’s Hartenstein.
Carson Prods. and Pollock/Ginsberg Prods. are handling the editing for the PPV telecasts. Each condensed seg will feature Carson’s complete opening monologue, as well as notable celeb interviews and appearances by standup comedians.