Arsenio Hall’s warm welcome back


by Steve Holsey
For New Pittsburgh Courier

Apparently it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, at least in some cases.

Just ask Arsenio Hall who, according to ratings organizations, has been warmly welcomed back to television with “The Arsenio Hall Show.”

It had been nearly two decades since the first incarnation of the program, which added a new flavor to late-night television. The show ran for six years from 1989 to 1994.

Hall, now 57, said, “I know I did the right thing by taking time off to raise my son, but it came with a price. I turned down many opportunities over the years because I didn’t want to leave him for long periods of time. And in Hollywood, as in any business, the calls stop coming when you don’t answer.”

Although he is happy to be back on the air with receptive audiences, some things have changed — and not necessarily for the better.

“There are so many cooks in the (expletive deleted) Hollywood kitchen now, so much micromanagement” he said during a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “It’s a calculated, computerized demographers’ world out there.

“There’s such a grind to it now, such a hurry-up-and-win mentality, and the landscape’s so crowded that there’s going to be less opportunity for the fun and spontaneous parts of it.”

He also noted that some of “the suits” have been speculating on whether or not the new show is “too Black.” To which his response is, “I can only be Arsenio.”

Hall, who has described himself as reclusive, was the first Black man in the United States to host and produce his own talk show.

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