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Steve Allen was the original host of the “Tonight!” show and as such was the innovator of what is, to this day, the standard television entertainment talk show format.

Steve Allen started in broadcasting as a disc jockey at KNX in Los Angeles where he often interviewed area musicians and actors. In 1950, he moved to New York to create and host the musically-oriented “Steve Allen Show.” After that show was cancelled in 1952, he started a late night talk show for WNBC-TV, New York and a year later NBC syndicated it as the “Tonight!” show. This was the first television show with what is now the traditional opening monologue, the sidekick (Gene Rayburn), the in-house band and lots of celebrity guests including up-and-coming comedians like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Allen’s witty, conversational style belied his musical genius and comedic background. He was a true renaissance man. Soon NBC was using Allen to host a Sunday night show to compete with CBS’ Ed Sullivan which necessitated him to leave the “Tonight!” show in 1957.

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