The Arsenio Hall Show: A Look Back 25 Years Later

It’s a rough time for talk shows these days. Networks canceled the Busy Phillips show (Busy Tonight). There are reports that Jimmy Fallon’s show is in peril after a large ratings drop. Also, the Steve Harvey Show got canned. Colbert didn’t have a large audience until he made the jump on the “hate Trump” bandwagon all the talk shows seem to be on. In saying that, let’s look back at one of the brighter eras of talk shows in the Arsenio Hall Show. It’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of its cancellation. The show tried to come back on The CW network in 2013 but people remember it more for its 90s showing.

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One of the historic moments of the show was Bill Clinton playing the saxophone. Most people credit this appearance to Clinton Winning the election because of the audience that the show had.

What made Arsenio Hall special was his audience was the young and minority group. He would have guests like 2Pac and Michael Jordan. Now, I feel like talk show guests don’t have the same chemistry with these type of celebrities today. Also, this was pre-internet era, so there are other ways celebrities can promote something.

I feel that ever since the networks canceled the show, there hasn’t been a talk show host that connects with minorities/youth like him. There have been successful shows that star minorities like Tyra Banks or Oprah. Chris Rock also had a five-season show in the lates 90s on HBO that won a couple of awards. In fact, I would say that none of them had the reach Arsenio had. Oprah and Tyra’s show appealed mostly to women and Chris’ show on a premium network hurt it. Maybe the sad truth is that talk shows may never be like this one. 

Do you remember the show fondly? Leave a comment who your favorite guest was.

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Daniel Heredia
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