Isn’t it curious. After announcing a renewal of the syndicated late night talk show from Arsenio Hall, CBS has reversed its decision.
Back in February, Jay Leno “surprised” Arsenio during his monologue to hand him a letter that confirmed the renewal. Arsenio could not have been happier!
But the celebration was short lived. CBS announced the cancellation today. What could have prompted the reversal? On May 23, Sean Daly posted on his TV page that Arsenio was very very close to being cancelled. Negotiations between the parties were ongoing, and difficult.
CBS Television Distribution is threatening to pull the plug on the THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW as early as next week unless the host and producers concede to major changes, multiple sources say.
“There is a big fight going on,” one insider tells me.
“They want Arsenio to make changes, but he is hiding in the weeds. He is not marching to the drum that CBS wants.”
Negotiations are expected to continue throughout the holiday weekend.
The distribution arm of CBS Television Studios — which renewed the fledging series for a second season back in February — is said to be unhappy with the writing and other key elements of the program.
Complicating matters, Sinclair Broadcast Group — which owns dozens of local stations that carry ARSENIO — reportedly may push the show from its typical 11:00 PM timeslot to as late as 2:00 AM.
Such a move would effectively ensure cancellation.
And as it turned out, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “station groups Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Co. and LIN Television all downgraded the series from its respective time slots.” Buh Bye Arsenio.
Arsenio premiered to optimistic numbers–1.5 rating with households (and, more importantly, a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49), according to THR. But the show took a dive–dropping 60 percent in the key demo within its first several months. The last straw was the beginning of the Jimmy Fallon era Tonight show, which began right around the time Arsenio was renewed. Jimmy posted huge numbers at the start and has dominated late night ever since.
The new show was a reboot of the very popular late night show Arsenio led in the late 80s/early 90s. But once Jay Leno took over the Tonight show, and David Letterman set up shop over at CBS, Arsenio couldn’t compete, and was cancelled in 1994. Sound familiar?
The late night host may not have prevailed in the ratings, but he did WIN Celebrity Apprentice back in 2012. He came out ahead of American Idol alum, Clay Aiken, who came in second.