ABC has just announced a new television project for Arsenio Hall, and the news couldn’t have come at a better time. Alongside country star Kelsea Ballerini, Hall will host Greatest Hits, a new TV series set to begin airing on the ABC network on June 30.
The news comes just days after singer Sinead O’Connor accused the former late night talk show host of supplying drugs to the “Purple Rain” singer Prince, which might have been a factor in the rock singer’s death. Hall followed up the allegations with a lawsuit set at “not less than” $5 million to O’Connor for defamation.
“Desperate, attention seeker Sinead O’Connor has maliciously published outlandish defamatory lies about comedian Arsenio Hall, falsely accusing him of supplying illegal ‘hard drugs’ ‘over the decades’ to the recently deceased music artist, Prince, and of spiking her with drugs once years ago,” the lawsuit says, as reported by CNN.
“Hall will not stand idly by while O’Connor attempts to get attention for herself by recklessly spreading malicious, vile lies that he engaged in egregious criminal conduct which falsely links Hall to Prince’s death,” the lawsuit adds.
One day later, O’Connor responded to the lawsuit on her Facebook page saying, “REGARDING ARSE-INIO HALL’S LAUGHABLE THREATS: I’m more amused than I’ve ever dreamed a person could be and look forward very much to how hilarious it will be watching him trying to prove me wrong.”
“I’m also very happy to notice that the DEA have taken me seriously enough to be thoroughly questioning all of Prince’s friends and aides from the last thirty years as to his KNOWN history of hard drug use and where he obtained his drugs. I do not like drugs killing musicians. And I do not like Arsenio Hall.”
Meanwhile, Arsenio is said to be busy concentrating on his new gig, ABC’s Greatest Hits TV series. The show will be a six-week music series that will feature big-name singers and musicians from 1980s, 1990, and 2000s. Each hour-long show is said to focus on a five-year period of music and will feature solo performances, special tributes, and “never-before-seen duets,” says the ABC press release.
Which music stars will actually make an appearance on Greatest Hits has not yet been announced, but given the talent of the show’s creator, they should be big. Greatest Hits is being produced by Ken Ehrlich, James McKinlay, and Raj Kapoor of AEG Ehrlich Ventures, who have produced the annual Grammy Awards broadcasts since 1980.
Arsenio Hall is no stranger to hosting duties. He served as an interim host for The Late Show in 1987 and headlined The Arsenio Hall Show late night show in 1989. After winning the 2012 season of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, Hall revived the show for syndication from 2013 to 2104. Hall’s most recent TV appearances have been for the PBS special Eddie Murphy: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, which aired in November of last year and the 2016 BET Honors special which aired March 14.
Arsenio will not be working alone on Greatest Hits. Country singer Kelsea Ballerini, who recently made an appearance on ABC’s Nashville, will co-host the limited series. Ballerini is known for her two gold-certified No. 1 songs, “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Dibs” from the album The First Time. She is the first solo female artist to hit No. 1 status with her first two country singles in 15 years.
See Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini when Greatest Hits debuts on Thursday, June 30 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
[Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images]