Entertainment

The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time  

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What are the best late night talk shows you always stay up to watch? This list compiles the names of the greatest late night talk shows in the history of television. Everyone knows that each host is different for every franchise; take the Tonight Show franchise, for instance. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is a very different show from The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Additionally, we all know that each show by the same host is different too; The Jon Stewart Show on MTV is vastly different from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central (owned by MTV), not to mention The Daily Show with Trevor Noah or even with Craig Kilborn.


Screw soap operas -- "late night talk" is the most drama-filled genre in all of television. Read a book by Bill Carter to hear the secrets behind the greatest late night talk shows (and the worst) ever aired. Even with a rich history that dates back to Steve Allen, there is always breaking news on the late night talk show front. Conan births Pete Holmes, Fallon usurps Leno, and Seth Meyers usurps Fallon. But will Kimmel usurp Letterman? And if you love these shows, check out the current late-night lineup.

list ordered by
1
The Tonight Show Starrin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1962
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under The Tonight Show franchise from October 1, 1962 through May 22, 1992. It originally aired during late-night. ...more

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#35 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #5 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Timelisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

2
Late Night with Conan O'... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1993
Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien that aired 2,725 episodes on NBC between 1993 and 2009. The show featured varied comedic material, ...more

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#35 of 64 The Best NBC Comedies of All Time #188 of 386 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearslisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

3
Late Night with David Le... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1982
Late Night with David Letterman is a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC that was created and hosted by David Letterman. It premiered in 1982 as the first incarnation of the Late Night ...more

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#52 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #263 of 293 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historylisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

4
Late Show with David Let... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2011
Late Show is an American late-night television talk and variety show on CBS. Late Show with David Letterman first aired in August 1993 with host David Letterman, who previously hosted Late Night ...more

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#134 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #65 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Timelisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

5
The Late Late Show with ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2005
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is an American late-night talk show hosted by Scottish American comedian Craig Ferguson, who was the third regular host of the Late Late Show franchise. It ...more

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#302 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #102 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writinglisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

6
The Colbert Report is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2005
The Colbert Report is an American late-night talk and news satire television program hosted by Stephen Colbert that aired on Comedy Central from October 17, 2005 to December 18, 2014 for 1,447 ...more

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#688 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #105 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #84 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

7
Conan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2010
Conan is a late-night talk show airing each Monday through Thursday on TBS in the United States. The hour-long show premiered on November 8, 2010, and is hosted by writer, comedian and performer ...more

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#31 of 75 The Funniest Shows on TV Right Now #700 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

8
The Late Show with Steph... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert 2015
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS, 2015) is an American late-night talk show hosted by Stephen Colbert.

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9
Last Week Tonight with J... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2014
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO, 2014) is an American late-night talk and news satire television program hosted by comedian John Oliver. The half-hour-long show takes a satirical look at ...more

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#356 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #37 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Air #10 of 75 The Funniest Shows on TV Right Now

10
The Graham Norton Show ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2007
The Graham Norton Show is a British comedy chat show broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom. It was shown on BBC Two from February 2007 to May 2009 and has been on BBC One since October ...more
11
Jimmy Kimmel Live! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2003
Jimmy Kimmel Live! is an American late-night talk show, created and hosted by James "Jimmy" Kimmel, and transmitted on ABC. The nightly hour-long show made its debut on January 26, ...more

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#58 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Air #26 of 75 The Funniest Shows on TV Right Nowlisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

12
The Tonight Show with Co... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2009
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show that featured Conan O'Brien as host from June 1, 2009 to January 22, 2010 as part of NBC's long-running Tonight Show ...more

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#1,080 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #248 of 1,328 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows #4 of 14 The Most Memorable TV Host Farewells

13
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1996
The Daily Show (Comedy Central, 1999) is an American late-night talk and news satire television program. Described as a fake news program, the show draws its comedy and satire from recent news ...more

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#692 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing Jon Stewart's Most Entertaining Feuds Everlisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

14
The Late Late Show with ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2015
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS, 2015) is an American late-night talk show hosted by James Corden. The fourth iteration of The Late Late Show, the talk show features popular segments, ...more

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#87 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Air #55 of 74 The Best CBS Shows of All Timelisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

15
Late Night with Seth Mey... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2014
Late Night with Seth Meyers is an American late-night talk show that airs at 12:37 am Eastern/11:37 pm Central on NBC in the United States, Monday through Thursday. The hour-long show premiered ...more

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#46 of 69 The Most Anticipated Shows On Peacock #975 of 1,328 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Showslisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

16
Ranker Video
2014
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon on NBC. The show premiered on February 17, 2014 and is produced by Broadway Video and Universal ...more

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#91 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Airfeaturing The Best Musical Guests on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' in 2020listed on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

17
The Dick Cavett Show is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1968
The Dick Cavett Show was the title of several talk shows hosted by Dick Cavett on various television networks, including: ABC daytime originally titled This Morning ABC prime time, Tuesdays, ...more

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#735 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #126 of 216 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #34 of 49 The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History

18
The Jon Stewart Show is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1993
The Jon Stewart Show is a late night talk show hosted by comedian Jon Stewart. The program premiered on MTV in 1993 as a thirty-minute daily program. At the end of its first season, MTV's ...more

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19
Real Time with Bill Mahe... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2003
Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO, 2003) is an American talk show series created by Bill Maher. Bill Maher hosts a panel of guests who discuss current events in politics and the media.

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#89 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Air #48 of 134 The Best of Premium Cable TV Series #291 of 386 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

20
Tonight Starring Steve A... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1954
Tonight Starring Steve Allen is a talk show hosted by Steve Allen. It was the first version of what eventually became known as The Tonight Show. Tonight was the first late-night talk show, as ...more
21
The Tonight Show with Ja... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1992
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jay Leno that initially aired from May 25, 1992 to May 29, 2009, and resumed production on March 1, 2010 until its ...more

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#628 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #561 of 1,328 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Showslisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

22
The Arsenio Hall Show is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1989
The Arsenio Hall Show is an American late-night talk show created and hosted by Arsenio Hall. There are two separate programs that have been titled The Arsenio Hall Show, both airing in ...more

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23
Late Night with Jimmy Fa... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
2009
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show that aired weeknights at 12:35 am Eastern/11:35 pm Central on NBC in the United States. The hour-long show, which premiered on ...more

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#34 of 180 The Best Shows Currently On The Air #524 of 1,177 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on Longest Running TV Talk Shows

24
Tom Snyder On CNBC is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
looksharp added Tom Snyder On CNBC
25
Politically Incorrect is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Late Night Talk Shows of All Time
1993
Politically Incorrect is an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central in 1993, moved to ABC in January ...more

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