Arsenio Hall on return to TV: I'm going to be myself

(CBS News) The best advice Arsenio Hall says he's received about going back on late-night TV comes directly from "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King: Hall said on "CBS This Morning" King advised him to invite Bill Clinton onto his new show with his saxophone to recapture that classic TV moment.

Hall said on "CTM," "That would get people smiling in a nostalgic sense, but I would love to have Mr. Obama on the show playing anything or holding an instrument."

Hall said his show's strategy is going to be -- as it was with his late-night show that ended in 1994 -- to be himself.

"I won't get busted if I'm honest to who I am," he said. "I just want to jump back into it. And this time, the names might be different. It may not be Alan Thicke, it might be Robin Thicke. It'll just be me doing my thing in a new generation. Less hair, less shoulder pads, but I'm the same guy. Maybe a little smarter, I hope."

Hall, who ended his previous show of his own volition, said he did it because he ultimately was looking for balance in his life. "I didn't know why I walked away," he said. "I knew I needed something. I didn't know what it was. It turned out that I wanted more family. And when you do something like this every day, if you really do it well, it's a 24/7 business, especially if you're the (executive producer), so I ended up balancing my life and having family and being a father and to be honest with you, as much as I love making people laugh, I love doing standup, but there's nothing greater than fatherhood.

He continued, "I was a latchkey kid. My childhood was dictated by commerce. You know, my mother had to do what she did. I would call her, 'I'm in,' 'Is the door locked? Make yourself a cheese sandwich start your homework.' God blessed me with a certain kind of success, and part of it, I realized was so I could father the way I wanted to, so I could step away from this. So if it was here when I came back, great, I'll see. But I don't regret one moment of the life I've lived in the last at least 13 years."

Hall has a son, Arsenio Hall, Jr.

Sunday Morning: For Arsenio Hall, back is beautiful

And now he's back, and while the late-night field is crowded, Hall said he's not looking to compete, but rather reach people who haven't found a host to watch. "There are so many people who don't have a choice, a horse in the game," he said. "They're doing other things. They're listening to radio, playing with their iPad. I don't think (late-night hosts) have to compete against each other and take ratings from each other or viewers from each other. I think we can literally find an audience that doesn't have a talk show."

"CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose asked Hall, "Do you think you have a responsibility in any particular way to the African-American community?"

Hall replied to Rose, "Wow. I'm sure I do, and I hope to be able to balance that with a successful show because sometimes those challenges can interfere with entertainment -- with pure entertainment and making people laugh. But you try. And it's funny that that's there for me but not for you. Nobody ever comes to you in your career and says, 'What have you done for the white community sir?'"

Co-host Gayle King said, joking, "Yes, what have you done for while people, Charlie Rose?"

Rose quipped, "They say, 'What did you done to the white people'."

"The Arsenio Hall Show," premieres Monday. Check your local listings.

  • Amanda Cochran

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