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Hot! Arsenio Hall readies for return to late-night TV

It’s been almost 20 years since Arsenio Hall hosted a late-night talk show, but viewers shouldn’t expect a dramatic change when The Arsenio Hall Show premieres Sept. 9.

“It’s kind of the same Arsenio you know — less hair, less shoulder pad — but inserting myself into this culture of music, comedy, pop and hop,” he told an audience today at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Hall’s new syndicated talk show will feature comedy, music and celebrity guests.

His earlier show, which ran from 1989 to 1994, had some memorable moments, including Bill Clinton playing the saxophone and Mariah Carey’s first television appearance. A section of the studio audience became known as “the Dog Pound.”

Hall knows TV has changed since the days of the earlier show, when “I was trying to take anything left over on (Johnny) Carson’s plate.” Today, there’s a crowded field in late night, but he feels there is an audience out there.

“I know that everybody doesn’t have a late-night host,” he says.

Other late-night hosts have been helpful, Hall says. Jay Leno referred comedy writers to him for the new show.

Hall hopes to appeal to all age groups, including younger viewers who may know him more from his victory on the fifth edition of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice in 2012. (Before Apprentice, previous winner Piers Morgan, a CNN talk host, advised Hall to read everything Apprentice boss Donald Trump had written. “Sometimes, when I would give Donald a response, it was his own quote,” Hall says.)

“I just have to be funny in the way I do it and hope (that) people see you and laugh,” he says. “I make kids laugh who are 19 and I made a lady who’s 90 laugh at the mall.”


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