Arsenio makes late-night return
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
Did fate decree that Arsenio Hall would return to late night after two decades' absence?
If so, he's answering that comeback call Monday with the premiere of “The Arsenio Hall Show” (syndicated; check local listings for time and channel).
It was in 1987 that a then-unknown Hall took flight as the hip alternative to NBC's “Tonight Show” titan Johnny Carson.
Then, in January 1989, he debuted with his own syndicated late-night show against Carson. He proved a formidable rival with his party atmosphere and a wide range of guests, including basketball great Magic Johnson.
But by 1994, Hall was facing new competition from “Tonight” host Jay Leno and David Letterman on CBS. With ratings slipping, he announced he was leaving the late-night arena.
In the years that followed, he kept a low profile. But Hall yearned to return to late night. In June 2012, he announced it was happening.
As part of his strategy to reintroduce himself, Hall became a contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice” early in 2012 — and ended up not only gaining the exposure he sought, but also winning the competition.
Even so, do enough viewers know who he is — or remember him — to get his new show off the ground?
“When people ask that, I'm like, 'Well, no one knew me the first time!' I used to joke that people thought Arsenio Hall was a dorm at UCLA. So don't I have a better shot this time?”