The King of Late Night hasn’t been on air for 20 years and died in 2005, but he has a new gig – on social media.
And that’s no joke.
MediaMine, an L.A. startup, has created both an app for one of Johnny Carson’s most famous characters, Carnac the Magnificent, and a Facebook trivia game using hundreds of old “Tonight Show” clips.
“Content that is sitting around collecting dust is a sunken asset,” said Barry Snyder, MediaMine chief executive. “There are fun things to do around these things.”
Carson’s clips have long been licensed for commercials and movies, such as the 1996 hit “Fargo.” But three years ago, Carson Entertainment Group, a Fullerton firm that licenses content for Carson’s charitable foundation, decided to digitize the 3,300-hour “Tonight Show” library, in part to make it more accessible for future licensees.
Snyder was a consultant on the project and launched MediaMine shortly thereafter, seeing an opportunity to digitize various archived content for both entertainment and other clients. In Carson’s case, Snyder decided to license content for use in social media, feeling that the late comic would have broad appeal.
The Carnac app is a takeoff on the turbaned mystic character, who would pull mundane answers out of the air to comedic questions written in sealed envelopes. Similarly, the $1.99 iTunes and Android app provides answers and challenges players to guess the joke questions.
So how will Carson’s decades-old content play in a medium just a few years old? Not too shabby if measured by the response to Carson’s YouTube clips, which have been posted by Carson Entertainment Group. They have attracted more than 7 million total views since being up on the site.