Don’t call it a comeback but Arsenio Hall is returning to US late night television.
Twenty years after his self-titled show completely reconstructed the talk show sphere for a whole new generation, the 56-year-old comedian and recent “Celebrity Apprentice” winner is back again with a nightly show commencing in September 2013.
Partnering with syndicator CBS Television Distribution Hall’s show will be broadcasted with the the 11 p.m. show on its 17 TV stations, including WGN-TV in Chicago and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, allowing more than half the country to have access to his new offering.
In an interview on Monday, Hall said, “In the end I’m a comic, and nothing fits the talk-show mode like a stand-up comic”.
He commented on the saturated field of late night television which includes media stalwarts such as Jon Stewart and Jay Leno, saying “I know there are a lot of shows, but I think there’s a space for my show.”
Hall’s first venture into nightly television in 1989 was an overnight surprise hit, bringing a youthful effervescence and diversity to a format that had been dominanted by Caucasian males for 30 years. Signature of Hall’s show, his studio audience greeted the him by pumping their fists and barking- it came to be known as “The Dog Pound.” Hall garnered a status as the only black host in late-night TV , a role that allowed him a special access to rappers and African American entertainers, including Eddie Murphy with whom he also co-starred in the hit comedy film “Coming to America.”
A signature moment of show was 20 years ago, when Bill Clinton- then a presidential candidate, appeared as a guest, wearing sunglasses and playing a saxophone rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel,” . It was a significant moment in American history where politics and pop culture interlinked. Unfortunately however, the show suffered after CBS brought David Letterman to host a late-night show . It soon displaced Hall on a number of stations before it was taken off air in 1994. It will be interesting to see if Hall can garner the same popularity he achieved today, as he did 20 years ago.