Arsenio Hall seems to be in the midst of a major comeback. Earlier this month, the 56-year-old actor/comedian was crowned as the champion of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. And today he is reportedly in early talks with CBS Television Distribution to launch a syndicated talk show.
His potential return to TV hosting would re-team him with CBS Television Distribution, the same company that produced his iconic syndicated late night talk show from 1989-1994, and who currently produces Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and also Jeff Probst’s upcoming daytime talk show.
The Coming to America star has been gunning to get back behind a desk hosting ever since The Arsenio Hall Show went off the air in 1994. During a recent interview on The View, Hall was candid in his desire to get behind the mic once more. “I hosted for Pierce Morgan on CNN, and I was interviewing Cookie Johnson and Magic Johnson,” Hall said. “We were talking about the foundation and Apprentice, and him buying the Dodgers, and there was a moment where it was like seeing an old girlfriend that I loved. I want a talk show again.”
It seems his newfound Trump-powered momentum is making his dreams come true. Last week TMZ reported that 3 major networks were “very interested” in signing Hall to a TV deal, but it is unclear whether or not he would be hosting a daytime or late night talk show.
Since Hall’s departure in 1994, there have been a handful of black hosts who made an attempt at hosting a late night talk show, but ultimately failed.
The Wanda Sykes Show had a brief run on Fox from 2009-2010, but was cancelled due to weak ratings. A year earlier, D.L. Hughley failed miserably with his weekly CNN talk show D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. The Mo’Nique Show debuted on BET in October, 2009, but after two seasons was put on ‘indefinite hiatus’ by network executives.
There were a slew of talk shows that popped up in the 1990s as networks attempted to emulate Hall’s success by gambling with black comedians in the late night talk show arena. There was The Whoopi Goldberg Show (1992-1993), The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show (1997-1998), and Magic Johnson’s quickly -canceled The Magic Hour (1998).
Hall was the clear underdog going into the final show of the Celebrity Apprentice, but he was able to beat out Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken to become the first African-American to win in Trump’s celebrity boardroom showdown.
With his past success in hosting a talk show, Hall might just be able to defy the odds again, and return to the craft that once made him a household name.