Poll: Johnny Carson still America's all-time favorite late-night host

Johnny Carson is America's all-time favorite late-night host, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

Nearly 14 million of viewers recently bid farewell to David Letterman, and Jimmy Fallon is a YouTube sensation. But when Americans were recently surveyed about their all-time favorite late-night host, most still looked back fondly on the on the phrase “Heeeere’s Johnny.”

Johnny Carson, who retired as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show” in 1992, was named by 25% of 2,105 adults polled by Quinnipiac University the week of May 19–26. The poll questions were open-ended, allowing for any answer.

Carson was followed by Letterman, whose final late-night show for CBS aired on May 20. He was named by 13% of respondents. Carson's successor, Jay Leno, scored 7% while Fallon, the current “Tonight” host, pulled 6%. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and TBS host Conan O’Brien were each named by 3%, while Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart was named by 2%.

Asked about their favorite current host, Fallon was named by 20% of respondents, followed by Kimmel (11%) and O’Brien (6%).

In the all-time favorite category, Carson’s highest level of support came from older respondents. He scored 45% among people 50 to 64 years old and 35% among those over 65.

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