Since the main recurring theme in television and movie entertainment these days is everything old is new again, I'm mostly unsurprised to hear that Arsenio Hall will once again have a late-night show. Thanks in no small part to the resurgence of fame he gained through Celebrity Apprentice, Hall is hoping for a major comeback with a new nightly 11 p.m. gig on CBS.
His show won't air until September 2013, so at least that gives him plenty of time to consider how he'll recapture the popularity he had in the '90s in brand new ways. For one thing, he says, he'll revamp that "Dog Pound" ritual where the audience would woof and pump their fists upon his arrival on the stage.
As in ... he might come up with a different animal noise. Whew, for a minute there I thought this was going to be a lame reboot of a tired format! But a DIFFERENT ANIMAL NOISE, well, now that's a gamechanger.
(Is anyone else now totally distracted by what animal noise he could possibly be thinking of? "Moo! Moo! Moo! Moo!" "Sss! Sss! Sss! Sss!" "Rawwwr! Rawwwr! Rawwwr! Rawwwr!")
It's been two decades since Hall's show turned out to be the surprise hit of the late-night circuit, but he sounds pretty convinced audiences will still pick him over the plethora of other evening choices:
In the end I'm a comic, and nothing fits the talk-show mode like a stand-up comic. (...) I know there are a lot of shows, but I think there's a space for my show.
Yes, if only more of today's late-night shows involved comedians. Sure, there's Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, and the coming shows from Chris Rock and Russell Brand, but can there really ever be enough opening monologues that recycle the same five Kardashian jokes?
Anyway, the most interesting thing about this whole story is that Hall has apparently wanted to get back into late-night TV for months, and the way he sold studio execs on the idea was by getting himself on a reality show. His popularity on Celebrity Apprentice proved he still had small-screen appeal, and introduced himself to younger viewers unfamiliar with the Dog Pound.
Savvy move, and one that shows that while he may be old news to some of us, Hall's got a pretty good idea of how TV trends have changed over the years.
Who knows, maybe Hall's new show will be another ratings goldmine. Personally, I'd rather see some new faces and creative new approaches to late night television, but nostalgia has an undeniable appeal -- one that's apparently irresistible to producers. Baa! Baa! Baa!
What do you think about Arsenio Hall coming back to late night TV?
Image via NBC