In a sign that Johnny Carson’s legacy will live on in an increasingly active way, WME has signed Carson Entertainment Group and will rep the company in all areas.
CEG has stayed busy since Carson’s 2005 passing, focusing on bringing the “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” library into the digital age. Company controls the licensing rights to “Tonight Show” footage from 1962-1992 and has worked to adapt the content for modern-day media.
“It’s a wonderful thing that there’s still this much interest in ‘Tonight Show’ after being off the air for 20 years,” Jeff Sotzing, Carson’s nephew and CEG prexy, told Variety. “We think there are so many ways to repurpose this material and make it available on cross platforms other than conventional television, and figured it was time to hook up with someone who could help us investivate those possibilities.”
Archival show footage has already landed more than 11.7 million views on YouTube since CEG uploaded the clips, and Sotzing has led the effort to digitize 30 years of “Tonight Show” footage that tops out at over 3,300 hours.
CEG has also dabbled in the app and gaming space, launching a Facebook game and Carnac app with MediaMine. Finally, the company collaborated with Peter Jones last year on his PBS doc “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” which drew 6.3 million viewers.