With Arsenio Hall set to return to late night in fall 2013, the host already has a couple of celebrity guests in mind. The host caught up with The Hollywood Reporter before the taping of Spike TV’s “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only,” which celebrated the life and career of the actor-comedian.
At Saturday’s event, Hall revealed that he is hoping a certain former president makes another stop on his couch. “I wouldn’t mind having Bill Clinton again; having Clinton, the big dog of the Democratic Party, will be fun,” he said. (Clinton famously appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992, playing “Heartbreak Hotel” on his saxophone; the appearance is considered by some to have helped boost his popularity among young and minority voters, leading to his winning the election.) Added Hall: “I would like to have Clinton play horn while Jay-Z raps. That would be a good first night.” The host also is excited to bring his show back to his roots: CBS Television Distribution, which is syndicating his upcoming talk show and owns the library of Paramount Television, which distributed Hall’s previous late-night talker from 1989-94.
“The bottom line is: Never burn a bridge, because you might want to go home,” he said of returning to the same corporate family. As for what type of format he would like to have on his new show, Hall said: “I am who I am. I can only be Arsenio every night, and it will be me with a guest, me in the studio and me on a couch.”
“Here is the deal with a talk show: The talk show host is the engine, and you can put different engines in different cars’ bodies,” he said.
In Hall’s opinion, viewers choose which late-night talk show they want to watch the same way they choose someone with whom to go to bed. “In talk shows, you just reach out and choose a channel with a guy you like, with a guy you feel like going to bed that night. ‘I want to go to bed with Fallon tonight, I want to go to bed with Chelsea tonight.’ You will make your choice,” Hall joked.
Hall’s late-night show has already been licensed by Tribune broadcasting stations and will air in major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.