Arsenio Hall will make his return to late-night television in fall 2013, CBS Television Distribution confirmed on Monday (June 18).
CTD already has cleared the show in more than half of the country, including 17 Tribune-owned stations covering all of the markets in which Tribune has stations. That immediately gives CTD New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the country's top-three markets.
The show also is sold in all top ten markets and in 17 of the top 20 markets on stations owned by CBS in Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa and Pittsburgh. Local TV LLC, with whom Tribune has a back-office partnership, will air the show in Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Greensboro and Norfolk.
Tribune is working with CTD to produce the show.
"Tribune's financial commitment to the production of the show reflects our belief that the growth of the broadcast business lies in investing in top-tier programming and content," said Nils Larsen, president and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting, in a statement.
Hall starred in his own top-rated late-night talk show, produced by CTD predecessor Paramount, from 1989 to 1994. Most recently, he won NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.
"We're excited to welcome Arsenio back to the family and partner on his new, late-night syndicated talk show," said John Nogawski, president of CTD, who was with Paramount when it produced Hall's original program. "Arsenio had a substantial following with his previous late-night show, and that same 18-34 audience is now right in the middle of the late-night core audience of 35-54.
"Years ago, Arsenio transcended time periods and attracted a cross-over audience while bringing a fresh perspective to late night. That same need in the market exists today as when we originally launched."
Sean Compton, Tribune's president of programming and entertainment, says he first started considering bringing Hall back to late night more than four years ago, when he first started working at Tribune. He met with entertainment attorney Scott Zolke of Loeb & Loeb and set up a meeting with Hall. The timing wasn't right, but Compton kept thinking about it. The project became known as Project Dogpound within Tribune, in honor of the "Woof Woof Woof!" that Arsenio's live audience would cheer.
Two months ago, Compton met with Nogawski at the National Association of Broadcasters' show in Las Vegas and learned that Nogawski had been thinking exactly the same thing. Paramount had success with the first go-round of Arsenio and CTD's research was showing that Hall's audience -- older now -- would welcome him back. An early partnership was formed.
With Tribune and its large-market stations on board, it was relatively easy to speed a deal through.
"It's an amazing feeling to be going HOME to my old friends and colleagues and firing up our 'Night Thing,'" said Hall in a statement. "Let's get busy ... AGAIN!"
The new show will be produced by CBS Television Distribution, in association with Arsenio Hall Communications Ltd. and Octagon Entertainment Productions. Arsenio Hall will be executive producer. Octagon's John Ferriter also will serve as an executive producer.