Background: Carson Entertainment is the production company of the legendary Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, formed in 1980 to own and produce The'Tonight Show. Prior to 1982, it was an in-credit mention at the end of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

1st Logo
(1981-1992, 2009- )

Logo: We start out with a brightly-lit city skyline, then the outlined word "CARSON" zooms out from us to a comfortable distance, on a gray background. Three thick light-blue horizontal lines wipe in from right to left, filling the outlined word "CARSON" with blue and at the same time, the word "PRODUCTIONS" wipes in the same direction in sync with the horizontal lines. Sometimes, the copyright stamp is seen below it.

Variant: An in-credit text for Carson Productions was seen on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman: Carson Productions would stop co-producing Late Night in 1992 after Johnny Carson's retirement.

Produced by NBC ENTERTAINMENT (or PRODUCTIONS) in Association with CARSON PRODUCTIONS (the last bit would be used for later episodes of Letterman) and [ WORLDWIDE PANTS INCORPORATED] LATE NIGHT and LATE NIGHT with DAVID LETTERMAN  are trademarks of NBC © (YEAR) National Broadcasting Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Later Variant (2009- ): The city background seems to be more animated, the "CARSON" logo is in the Impact font, the background after the logo forms is much darker, and "ENTERTAINMENT" replaces "PRODUCTIONS".


  • Original Variant: The zoom-out of "CARSON", the wiping in of the horizontal lines and "PRODUCTIONS".
  • Later Variant: Same as the original variant, with the city background.

Cheesy Factor:

  • Original Variant: The effort is there, but the quality turns out a bit poor, in both picture and sound.
  • Later Variant: A much more refined CG effort, although the logo seems a little rushed.

Music/Sounds: A loud five-note bombastic horn fanfare with a "WHOOSH" accompanying the wiping in of the horizontal lines and "PRODUCTIONS." There is also a variation in which only the last three notes are played, which are the same three notes as the signature NBC "chimes" jingle, and sometimes the end theme of the show plays over the logo. On the 2009 variant, a better-quality version of the audio is used.


  • Original Variant: Uncommon. Currently seen at the end of Amen episodes on TV One and UP and Carson's Comedy Classics on Reelz Channel. It also existed at the end of TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes with the outro of the show's theme music. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, obviously, is another show with this logo. The logo is retained on video releases of Carson's last two shows and the 1982 special Johnny Goes Home on DVD and was spotted on a 1986 episode posted on YouTube by Carson Entertainment Group. The Late Night with David Letterman variant can be seen on VHS tapes of the show from Goodtimes Home Video. Also seen on the short-lived shows Lewis & Clark and Partners in Crime.
  • Later Variant: It can be seen at the end of the episodes on the Tonight: 4 Decades of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson DVD Box set, released in 2009. It has also replaced the in-credit mention on two full episodes posted on the Official Johnny Carson YouTube channel by Carson Entertainment Group in 2013. You can expect this on future releases of The Tonight Show material.

Scare Factor: Low to medium, because of the music. None for the in-credit logos.

2nd Logo (1988)

Logo: A full moon rises above a city at night, with black and blue gradient skies and several lights in the city (there are several light lines with the rest all over). Once the moon gets into its place, "CARSON PRODUCTIONS" (in the same style as the previous logo, except "CARSON" is a lighter blue color and "PRODUCTIONS" is in a different font and white) flies from behind the moon and rotates to the right, going towards the screen. As all this happens, the city turns into a dark gray background while the three blue lines ease in. The company name zooms back to its familiar place.

FX/SFX: The moon, the company name flying in and rotating, the background changing.

Cheesy Factor: The moon just slides in and looks very cheap. No wonder Johnny Carson never used it!

Music/Sounds: Just the theme to the video.

Availability: This was never used on TV shows: it was only seen on graphic designer Robert Backstrand's 1988 Demo Reel, which can be seen here.

Scare Factor: None.

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