'The Tonight Show' through the years

"The Tonight Show" has changed a lot since its first days on the air. 

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    "The Tonight Show" In 1954, NBC first launched its late-night series with host Steve Allen. The series was branded "Tonight! America After Dark" in the late 50s and later became "The Jack Paar Show." In 1962, "The Tonight Show" as we know it launched with host Johnny Carson.  (AP/NBC) 
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    Johnny Carson  In 1962 the famed Johnny Carson began hosting the NBC late-night series bringing in guests like Muhammad Ali, pictured.  (AP)
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    Ed McMahon  McMahon was the announcer for the show in its early years. Here, Carson, right, shakes hands with McMahon during Carson's final taping of "The Tonight Show" in 1992.  (AP) 
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    A sad goodbye Carson left "The Tonight Show" in 1992, and he was emotional during his final episodes on the series.  (AP)
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    Bette Midler send off  Entertainer Bette Midler visited Johnny Carson during his next-to-last taping of "The Tonight Show" on May 21, 1992.  (AP)
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    David Letterman as a guest Some speculated when Johnny Carson left "The Tonight Show," David Letterman, left, would take over for him.  (AP)  
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    Fresh talent After Carson's 1992 departure, Jay Leno, right, took over for the celebrated host.  (AP)
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    Jay Leno Despite having big shoes to fill, Leno took to Carson's role well. Though many speculated David Letterman was more fit to host "The Tonight Show," Leno showed he had what it takes.  (AP)
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    Big interviews During his time on the series, Leno brought in big name stars and politicians to interview, such as John McCain, seen here in 2000.  (AP)
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    Presidential candidates In 2003, Leno interviewed Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt on the air.  (AP)
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    Conan O'Brien In 2009, O'Brien briefly took over for Leno. After several months, Leno quickly reclaimed his hosting chair and O'Brien left NBC.  (AP)
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    Jimmy Fallon  On April 3, 2013, NBC announced Jimmy Fallon would be taking over for Leno in 2014.  (NBC)
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