SAN DIEGO, June 18, 2012 – When last we saw actor/comedian Arsenio Hall, Donald Trump had just named him the new “Celebrity Apprentice” over runner-up Clay Aiken.
Now we’ll get to see a lot more of Hall starting in the fall of 2013 as the host of a new syndicated late night talk-show airing on 17 television stations in the 20 largest markets in the U.S., including Tribune owned stations KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in New York, and WGN in Chicago, as well as KSWB Fox 5 in San Diego; and CBS stations in Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, and Pittsburgh.
Hall, 56, made the announcement Monday morning on KTLA’s morning talk show. It did not come as huge surprise since he had made no secret while competing on “Celebrity Apprentice” he wanted to get back into the talk show game.
“In the end I’m a comic, and nothing fits the talk-show mode like a stand-up comic,” Hall said. “I know there are a lot of shows, but I think there’s a space for my show.” Hall said he was so excited he was already writing the show’s new theme song.
In a later interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, Hall said “I thank Mr. Trump, and I thank America, because I had a lot of love and support during that time, and I’m having a lot of support to come back. So I’m on Cloud 9 right now.”
The show will air nightly and will be recorded each day in Los Angeles. The show will be an updated version of Hall’s successful late night show, targeting mostly the same audience.
One of the first people to congratulate Hall publicly was Aiken. Via Twitter, Aiken posted a link to a story about the announcement, tweeting: “Here it is!! I’m SOOOO excited for @ArsenioOFFICIAL 2013 can not get here fast enough! His show is going to dominate!!” Hall responded to Aiken: “I am happier than a mouse running around the Kraft cheese factory!” Well wishes also came from former Celebrity Apprentice competitor Marlee Matlin, who tweeted: “Mr @ArsenioOFFICIAL was FIRST to welcome me to late-night TV when no one else would & even paid for the captions himself.”
It’s been long enough since Hall’s Emmy-winning talk show “The Arsenio Hall Show” which aired from 1989 to 1994 that many people may know him better for winning “Celebrity Apprentice.” Hall’s show was the first modern update on the format dominated to that point by “The Tonight Show” hosted by Johnny Carson. Hall’s studio audience was encouraged to be raucous, and they greeted his entrance with fist pumping and barking. They came to be known as “The Dog Pound.” It became so popular it started popping up everywhere. Actress Julia Roberts did it in the movie “Pretty Woman” in 1990.
Hall was the only African-American host in late night television at the time. He was routinely featured African-American entertainers, singers, rappers and athletes on the air, including Spike Lee, Tupac Shakur, Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy, and Mike Tyson. He wasn’t afraid to mix it up or spark controversy. He famously argued with gay-activist hecklers who criticized the dearth of openly gay guests, and took heat for conducting an interview with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
But Hall’s place in media history was secured 20 years ago this month as presidential candidate Bill Clinton appeared on the show, wearing Blues Brothers sunglasses and playing “Heartbreak Hotel’ on the saxophone.
It is hard now to imagine just how stunning it was for viewers to see someone who might (and did) end up a President of the United States doing something so… cool. Political campaigns had never embraced pop culture as a method of reaching voters the way Clinton did on Hall’s show, and it opened the floodgates for candidates to appear in popular entertainment venues from that moment forward. Every time you see Mitt Romney or Barack Obama sitting across from Jay Leno, you can thank Arsenio Hall. (Or blame him).
Prior to going on the reality competition show, Hall had been out of circulation focusing on his role as a single father to his son, following great success as a late-night syndicated talk show host. Hall said he hoped exposure on “Celebrity Apprentice” would help provide the sort of springboard he’s been looking for. The program allowed him to re-introduce himself to the American public.
Hall began his career in stand-up comedy, and soon caught the eye of television executives who tapped him for guest appearances on shows such as “Solid Gold” and “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” which led to his hosting Fox’s “The Late Show” in 1997.
In addition to his stand-up and hosting work, Hall established a career as an actor in movies such as “Coming to America” and TV shows such “Martial Law” on CBS.
CBS Television Distribution President John Nogawski noted. “Arsenio had a substantial following with his previous late-night show, and that same 18-34 audience is now right in the middle of the late-night core audience of 35-54. Years ago, he transcended time periods and attracted a cross-over audience while bringing a fresh perspective to late night. That same need in the market exists today as when we originally launched.”
Hall is smart, energetic, and hard working. He has a keen sense for popular culture and an authenticity about him that sometimes eludes other talk show hosts, a willingness to engage the audience, have fun, but also get in their face from time to time. I predict his new show will be successful. I’ll be watching.
VIDEO: Bill Clinton’s Appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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