Arsenio Hall Cancelled: Tough Road To Talk Show Success

Arsenio Hall came into his 2013 talk show reboot with a good credential behind him. Hall was a late night staple from 1989 to 1994, so he wasn’t new to the game. He hadn’t been entirely absent from television sets, either – he was known to newer audiences as the 2012 winner of Celebrity Apprentice.

Despite some trouble on the ratings front, as reported by Variety, the powers that be announced Arsenio’s renewal back in February – with a surprise appearance on the show by Hall’s friend, and former Tonight Show host, Jay Leno.

Then, last week, Hall’s show was abruptly cancelled by CBS TV Distribution which produced the show for the Tribune Station Group. As The Inquisitr reported previously, Hall was gracious and expressed gratitude for the year the show had.

So what happened? Reasons for the cancellation don’t go any further than the public statements made by CBS and Hall, which give few clues. The only significant event in late-night television in the past few months was the announcement of David Letterman’s retirement, set to happen in 2015. Letterman’s replacement is comedian – and television host – Stephen Colbert.

In some ways, Arsenio was doing well in his round 2 of the talk show tourney – the median age of his audience was 50.1. While that may seem old at first, it’s actually the youngest of any of the broadcast late night shows. Upon announcing the renewal of Hall’s show in February, CBS rep Joseph DiSalvo said, “We knew Arsenio had a built-in fan base, but he’s also reaching a new generation.”

In any event, Arsenio is not the first to wade into the talk show arena with less-than-successful results. Buzzfeed compiled a helpful list of celebrities whose talk shows got air time – and then became a mere blip on the television screen. As the list demonstrates, some of these shows ended up in the endless archives of YouTube.

Among the notables include Arsenio Hall’s friend Magic Johnson, who gave Hall the first interview after his HIV diagnosis. Magic’s show lasted three months in 1998. Comedy icon Chevy Chase lasted a mere five weeks in 1993. Martin Short, a veteran of sketch comedy, was cancelled after one year 1999-2000. Other high-profile names on the list include Pat Sajak, Megan Mullally, Fran Drescher, and Zack Galifianakis.

In an interview with CNN when the new show was announced last fall, Arsenio was diplomatic about why people might watch:

“Some will love it, some will hate it. But you look for people to choose you because of the questions you ask, because of the bookings you have, because of the comedy you do… You’re choosing what you want people to do with your public figures, your celebrities, your pop and hop stars. And everybody kind of knows what I do and how I do it, and I hope some people will join me for some nights.”

In the competitive late-night talk show scene that apparently wasn’t enough. But it may not be the last time behind the desk for Arsenio Hall.

[Image: Houston Style Magazine]

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