Happy 57th Birthday to the first black late-night talk show host in history, Arsenio Hall. From January 2, 1989, until May 27, 1994, he had a Paramount contract to host a nationwide syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show became a breakout, late-night success, especially rating high among the coveted younger demographic and known for its audience’s distinctive alternative to applause: chanting “Woof, Woof, Woof!,” while pumping their fists. The practice soon became such a ritual that by 1991 had become a “pop-culture stamp of approval”—one that Hall said had become “so popular it’s getting on people’s nerves.
During this time he had a rivalry with Jay Leno, after the latter was named host of The Tonight Show, during which Hall said that he would “kick Jay’s ass” in the ratings game.
Hall used his fame during this period to help fight worldwide prejudice against HIV and AIDS, after Magic Johnson contracted the disease; Hall and Johnson filmed a PSA about the disease that aired in the early 1990s.
In 2012, Hall was a contestant on the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, which began airing February 19, 2012. Hall represented his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing economic and social equality by engaging minorities in every aspect of their communities; increasing academic and innovative achievement; and raising HIV/AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention.
On May 20, 2012, in the live season finale, Hall was chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice winner, being “hired” by billionaire real estate investor Donald Trump over the other celebrity finalist, singer Clay Aiken. For winning Celebrity Apprentice, Hall won the $250,000 grand prize for his charity, in addition to any money he won for his charity for tasks he and his team won when he was a team leader on the show.
Good News!! Arsenio Hall’s new syndicated late-night talk show premieres in the Fall of 2013 on Tribune and CBS syndicated TV stations.