Despite news that ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ would return for a second season, those plans have changed.
It seems like only yesterday that Jay Leno, former Tonight Show host, surprised Arsenio Hall to announce to an excited crowd that Hall’s new program was coming back for a second season.
It wasn’t yesterday; it was actually on Wednesday’s episode.
But since then, plans have changed.
The program’s syndicator, CBS Television Distribution, renewed the show for a second season and Hall’s loyal audience, dubbed “The Dog Pound,” was “woofing” away at the good news. But stations around the country that hadn’t seen ratings take off started moving it to less-appealing timeslots where ratings were almost certain not to improve, and CTD realized it would no longer be financially viable to continue the show.
Local television stations that purchase syndicated programming like Hall’s show need good ratings because good ratings mean they can charge more for advertising. Stations have to make a profit from the advertising to cover, among other things, the cost they pay the syndicator to carry the program.
Syndication companies, meanwhile, need high ratings on the stations they sell their shows to, because they not only use ratings at other stations to sell to future stations, but they also typically insert their own commercials into the shows they sell; low ratings nationally mean they lose money on advertising, too.
Hall, 58, seemed to take the news in stride.
“When I started this adventure with CTD and Tribune, we all knew it would be a challenge — I’m gratified for the year we’ve had and proud of the show we created,” he said.
The original edition of The Arsenio Hall Show ran — brace yourself! — from 1989 to 1994, with guests that included Eddie Murphy, Andrew “Dice” Clay and Paula Abdul.
While running for the White House in 1992, Bill Clinton appeared wearing sunglasses and played saxophone with Hall’s band.
One of the most memorable incidents occurred when audience members interrupted the show to demand an explanation why Hall didn’t book gay guests. Hall didn’t take it sitting down and quickly put the militant audience members in their place:
His audience got its nickname, “The Dog Pound,” because of the “woof, woof, woof” sound it makes when Hall is introduced; the sound is said to emulate the sound fans of the Cleveland Browns make at football games to cheer the team on.
Cleveland is Hall’s hometown.