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Arsenio Hall is an American actor, comedian and was the first black late-night talk show host, on his groundbreaking The Arsenio Hall Show.
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When Carson retired in 1992 and Jay Leno was chosen as his successor over David Letterman (whose show followed Carson’s), Letterman left NBC for CBS and started his own Late Show against Leno's. Leno started drawing young viewers away from Hall, and Letterman, who had a longstanding young audience, also cut into Hall’s audience. Though the ratings dropped,
Hall said in a later interview that the show was still profitable and that he chose to walk away to explore other creative arenas and take time for himself. The Arsenio Hall Show aired its final episode May 27, 1994.
Hall received two NAACP Image awards in 1991, a Key of Life Award for his work as "a crusader in the fight of human rights," and another for his show. In 1993 he executive-produced the feature film Bopha!, a story about a family during apartheid, starring Danny Glover, Alfre Woodward and Malcolm McDowell and directed by Morgan Freeman.
After three years away from the public eye, Hall returned to television in 1997 with his short-lived sitcom Arsenio, co-starring Vivica A. Fox. In 1998-99, he made regular appearances on the CBS series Martial Law.
Hall hosted a revival of the televised talent show Star Search from 2003 to 2004. He also appeared as guest co-host on such shows as Access Hollywood Live and Piers Morgan Tonight. In 2012, Hall showed the world just how business-savvy he is on the celebrity edition of Donald Trump's hit reality competition The Apprentice. He beat out the likes of Victoria Gotti, rocker Dee Snider and American Idol singer Clay Aiken to win the top prize for his charity: the Magic Johnson Foundation.
Hall made a comeback to television in the fall of 2013 with a new syndicated talk show backed by CBS Television and the Tribune Co. Upon realizing he missed his previous work and receiving encouragement from his teen son, he decided to return to the format, with the idea of there being a cross-generational audience.
"Maybe there is some nostalgia: 'I used to watch Arsenio when I was in college,'" Hall said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "But we're doing a show for people who have moved on, and now they can sit around with their kid who can stay up late, and there will be a lot of stuff they can both dig."
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