TODAY   |  July 23, 2013

Classic Johnny Carson footage hits iTunes

Jeff Sotzing, president of the Carson Entertainment Group and Johnny Carson’s nephew, talks about making more than 15 hours of Carson footage available for a new generation of TV watchers on iTunes and reveals how they went about selecting the top moments from 30 years of TV.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and now, ladies and gentlemen , here's johnny .

>> with those words we welcomed johnny carson into our homes every night for 30 years. you can relive his classic moments or see what you missed as more than 15 hours of tonight show footage is being offered on itunes. he is the president of carson entertainment group and also johnny 's nephew. good to see you. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> we are huge fans of johnny carson and the greatest thing about offering this video and these moments on itunes is that now younger people are going to be exposed to johnny carson they might not have heard of in the past.

>> they might not. the fact that it's available any time, any place, anywhere is great. it 's wonderful .

>> you started with him on the show. this has become in a sense, a life long career of cure rating and taking care of his legacy.

>> yeah, he gave me an intern opportunity in the 70s to work at answering the phones and i worked my way through the staff and i became pretty much the archivist because i worked with peter putting the anniversary shows and compilation shows. it was a wonderful opportunity.

>> as we look at the footage jeff, how dyou describe his magic? his talent.

>> he is an incredibly good listener. he knows when to jump in and stay back and when to help out. if you look at his interaction with --

>> and ed mcmann .

>> unscripted it 's wonderful . really wonderful.

>> how do you pick out of 30 years of material the 15. it has to be incredibly difficult.

>> it is tough. we are concerned about the quality. we want the experience positive for the viewers. so when we originally released material on vhs, johnny and i looked at material on little cassette tapes and we said if it wasn't funny we wouldn't play it and if it was funny we left it in. it got terrific response.

>> some of the interviews over the years got so much attention. they were so wonderful. i thought it was because the stars when they showed up on the tonight show and knew they were sitting down from johnny carson they made sure they were at their best. is that the way you see it.

>> yeah, they were so prepared. look at beth midler, jay leno , these guys, if you get a shot at the tonight show and you're successful, it changes your career.

>> he was a favorite as was david letterman . is there a threw line? there's something of him routed in all the people that followed.

>> that format that originated here on 30 rock . my early recollections so coming to 30 rock in the 60s. i could sit and watch rehearsal and sit in the booth and it was great stuff.

>> he sounds like johnny .

>> you do. when you were in the mail room in the 1970s as the nephew of johnny carson , did the rest of the staff treat you differently.

>> you know, they didn't --

>> they had to. you're the bosses nephew.

>> i used to have lunch with the writers at the end of my career when i became the producer and if i showed up late and they had invited someone for lunch, they would say he's the producer of the show and as i would sit down they'd say johnny 's nephew.

>> thank you. can't wait to see this stuff. it's a pleasure to have you here.