6. Jack Paar
Decades before David Letterman and Conan O'Brien took their feuds with network overlords public, Jack Paar was waging his own war against NBC. It was 1960 and the host learned that the network was going to censor the bathroom abbreviation "W.C." from a joke. With tears in his eyes, he looked right into the camera: "I am leaving The Tonight Show,'" he said. "There must be a better way of making a living than this." Three very uncertain weeks later he was back. "As I was saying," he began, "before I was interrupted. . ." Paar quit the show for good in 1962, but during his five-year run he spoke with everyone from John F. Kennedy to Zsa Zsa Gabor. He even showed footage of the Beatles a month before they were on Ed Sullivan. He was a true pioneer whose influence on the talk show genre is almost immeasurable.