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Arsenio Hall show: Late night rerun or classic TV?

Host/executive producer Arsenio Hall speaks onstage during 'The Arsenio Hall Show' panel discussion at the CBS, Showtime and The CW portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. 

Arsenio Hall, remember him? He had a late-night talk show back in the early '90s. Then he disappeared. Well tonight, he’s trying to make a comeback in late night, his new syndicated show will debut in the top 50 markets.

The last time Arsenio Hall had a show, Johnny Carson was the King. But today the landscape is more divided than the Balkans, says Brad Adgate, an analyst at Horizon Media.

“It’s very competitive with Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman and Jay Leno,” Adgate says.

But he says Arsenio does have “name recognition” even if it’s not among 18-to-35-year-olds that advertisers care about.

“The notion that this is a young audience isn’t really true,” he said. Adgate adds most late-night TV viewers are in their 50s.

Being a syndicated show also works in Arsenio’s favor, said Cynthia Littleton, who covers TV for Variety.

“CBS, in this case, sells the show to a different station in each television market,” Littleon said.  

She adds that Arsenio’s success doesn’t hinge on beating Leno. Success means that he has to sell more ads than the reruns the stations cut to make room for him.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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