Arsenio Hall was once one of the great late night talk show hosts. He was much like the “Johnny Carson” for young people and African Americans. He was a real powerhouse in late night TV. Then one day the show was gone. But, not before many memorable programs and on-air moments such as the one in which 1992 presidential candidate Bill Clinton played the saxophone, which gained him popularity among younger voters, and was a real turning point in his own campaign.
CBS will produce and syndicate the new show, which hopefully will achieve great popularity today despite a far more crowded field of competition from networks and cable TV talk shows such as CONAN or THE DAILY SHOW, etc.
Arsenio Hall seemed to accidentally fall into the talk show gig after Joan Rivers began to falter with her talk show in 1987 and quit the show, leaving producers looking for some replacement host. After several personalities, Arsenio Hall proved the most popular of the group, eventually building a loyal audience. This resulted in Paramount offering Arsenio Hall a contract for his own show that ran from 1989 until 1994 after the old Joan Rivers talk show was officially canceled.
Arsenio Hall had hoped at one time to upend Jay Leno in the ratings but that never happened, a divided ratings pool audience drew a smaller share for Arsenio Hall, where Paramount decided to cancel the show in 1994. But, producers at CBS are looking at the positive ratings that Arsenio Hall once drew and believe that he can once again be a powerful force in late night talk TV.
If anyone can pull off a comeback in late night TV, it’s Arsenio Hall. He’s proven himself to be one of the most durable figures in that medium by far. And he should be able to carve out a unique market among the field of competitors.