On Sunday, comedian/actor/TV host Arsenio Hall was the winner on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice. I don't follow that show every weekend, but it sure was good to see Arsenio back on television and in a good network spot. I sincerely hope the network exposure leads to him getting work opportunities to consider. He deserves that.
Let's go back to the 1980s and '90s and think of folks who hosted national talk shows: Joan Rivers, Jon Stewart, Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, Pat Sajak, Craig Kilborn, Rosie O'Donnell and Arsenio Hall. They would all go on to new talk show host opportunities. Except for Arsenio. Yes, even Pat Sajak got another talk show. On Fox News Channel in 2003. The one talent mentioned in the PBS American Masters special as the one person who challenged Carson's popularity is the one talent in that group who didn't go on to a second talk show. That is rarely, if ever, mentioned by entertainment reporters or TV columnists.
Was Arsenio Hall not offered another talk show opportunity after 1994? If not, why not and what does that say about the state of racial diversity in television? Did he do something he regretted on the show? I'd like to ask him those questions. Rosie didn't have to tweet that she wanted another talk show. She got one. From Oprah.
More full disclosure: During my VH1 talk show host time, I got very flattering reviews from the New York Times, from TV Guide and from People magazine. I loved my three years on that job. After my VH1 contract ended in 1990, was I ever offered another national talk show host opportunity? No. Did I want one? Yes. Once again, it was great to see Arsenio Hall back on television. I hope we see more of him, on a regular basis, soon.