By the numbers: "That's wild stuff"

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His statistics were almost incomprehensible, his career historic. The records he set will never be matched in late-night TV. Just how remarkable was Johnny Carson's tenure, you ask? Think of it this way: When Johnny came in, there were only three or four choices on TV in almost every city, and when he left three decades later, there were more than 30 or 40 choices. And out of all the numbers listed below, one number stands out: When Johnny left, he was No. 1 in the ratings.

Number of human guests appearing on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson": more than 22,000

Number of animal guests: more than 212

Average nightly audience in 1962: 7.5 million

Average nightly audience in 1978: 17.3 million

Average nightly audience in 1991: 12 million (This decline is due to the fractionalization of the TV universe.)

Number of competing talk/variety shows Johnny clobbered over the years: 14

Approximate number of sponsors: 850

Number of commercials aired: more than 250,000

Number of people watching the wedding of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki in 1969 (according to A.C. Nielsen Co. data): 21.4 million

Amount a minute of advertising cost on the show in 1968: $17,200

Amount 30 seconds of advertising cost on the show in 1991: $35,000

Amount 30 seconds of advertising cost on Johnny's final show: $200,000

Salary that Johnny Carson earned as host of The Tonight Show in 1962: $100,000 a year

Salary that Johnny Carson earned in 1991: about $20 million a year

Amount per minute on the air that Carson earned in 1991: about $2,380

Percentage of NBC's total annual revenue accounted for by "The Tonight Show" in 1991: 15% ($60 million)

Estimated number of viewers who have watched Johnny host "The Tonight Show" over the years: 83 billion

Estimated number of viewers who joined Johnny for his final show on May 22, 1992: 23 million (according to the Associated Press)

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