Arsenio Hall 2014

‘Arsenio Hall Show’ Cancellation Means It’s Time to Forget the Mainstream

Arsenio Hall 2014

Although CBS Television Distribution renewed The Arsenio Hall Show for a sophomore season back in February, the decision has been made to cancel the series.

“Unfortunately, The Arsenio Hall Show will not return for a second season; while there are many loyal fans of the show, the series did not grow its audience enough to continue,” CBSTVD said. “Arsenio is a tremendous talent and we’d like to thank him for all the hard work and energy he put into the show. We’d also like to thank Tribune and all our station group partners for their support of the show.”

Arsenio added, “When I started this adventure with CTD and Tribune, we all knew it would be a challenge — I’m gratified for the year we’ve had and proud of the show we created. I’d like to thank everyone on my staff for rallying around me and striving to make the best show possible every night.”

CBSTVD originally announced a second-season pickup in February 2014, citing that the series is the youngest-skewing late-night talk show and that Hall was “reaching a new generation.” But station groups Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Co. and LIN Television all downgraded the series from its respective time slots.

The syndicated talk show launched in September 2013 and was anchored on 17 stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting — a partner in the production of the show — including markets in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The show dropped 60% in the key demo within its first several months following its promising premiere, a 1.5 rating with households.

And though the show take-over from Prince caused ratings to surge 56% in March, tying ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel that night, David Letterman‘s retirement announcement and Jimmy Fallon‘s move to replace him was hard to contend with.

The cancellation is a real bummer considering late night is now overwhelmingly white and male, as Chelsea Handler‘s show will also end in August.

However, all this really means is that if late night programming is going to truly be geared toward people of color or women, it needs to focus on where these audiences already tune in or where they are more likely to tune in.

The topics Arsenio was covering and the talent he was shining a light on could have been better appreciated on a black entertainment-focused network such as BET, Centric, TV One or Magic Johnson‘s Aspire TV.

It may be time to abandon the quest to diversify mainstream late night all together.