1990s | The heir

David Letterman, who currently hosts "The Late Show," was considered Carson's heir-apparent and counts Carson among his mentors. But when Carson retired in 1992, "The Tonight Show" signed Jay Leno, who had been Carson's guest host for years. This prompted Letterman to leave NBC for CBS to start his current late-night gig, which has been competing head-to-head with "The Tonight Show" ever since.
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