CTV Television Network

Jerry Lester Show

Network: CTV Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1963

Broadcast Medium: Television

Jerry Lester is widely credited as having been the first host of a late-night variety show on U.S. network television.  His Broadway Open House played on NBC from May 1950 to August 1951. It was the brainchild of Sylvester ‘Pat’ Weaver, the NBC VP who built on what he learned with Open House when he created The Tonight Show in 1954.

 Lester was a comedian in the broad slapstick vein, but by the time he came to host his own show for CTV the gilt was off the gingerbread, and his one-hour series only lasted one brief year on CTV.  It played on Saturday nights at 10:00pm, and was produced in Toronto.

Pip Wedge – January 2003