CBS Television Distribution partners with Tribune Broadcasting Stations to anchor a fall 2013 launch for the latenight syndicated strip. Among the station groups on board are the CBS Television Stations and Local TV. The show has been sold in all top 10 markets and 17 of the top 20.
The next-generation Arsenio Hall show from CBS Television Distribution will be hitting late night in fall 2013 mostly in 11 p.m. time slots on CW, MNT and Fox affiliates. It will air on 17 Tribune-owned stations, including in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and on CBS-owned stations such as CW affiliates KBCW San Francisco and WKBD Detroit.
The one-hour show is being sold to stations for two-year deals on a cash-plus-barter basis (5.5 national minutes, 9.5 local). So far, it has been sold to stations reaching 52% of TV homes, including dozens of CW stations.
“This isn’t about going after ABC, CBS or NBC. Those time periods are locked up,” says John Nogawski, president of CBS Television Distribution.
“This is about what the other stations are running. What used to be a sitcom lineup from 11 p.m. to midnight that was exclusive to broadcast stations is no longer exclusive. What we’re able to create here is a first-run environment that puts those stations in a league with the networks. It’s first run and it’s exclusive to broadcast.”
This Arsenio show will be Hall’s highest profile venture since his old late night talk show from Paramount (now CBS) ended its syndicated run in 1994.
The new show has been in the works for about four years. Tribune initially approached Hall about returning to late night, but informally. A few months ago, CBS and Tribune struck a deal to work on the show. CBS is handling distribution and will produce it in association with Octagon Entertainment. Tribune has a financial stake in the show.
“CBS asked me about doing a late night talk show,” says Sean Compton, president of programming and entertainment at Tribune Broadcasting. “I said, ‘Yeah, if it’s Arsenio.’ We clearly wanted to do it. We’re on board in all our markets.”
Hall recently won the most recent season of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. John Ferriter, managing director of Octagon Entertainment, orchestrated Hall’s appearance on the show. He had previously helped one-time Apprentice winner Piers Morgan take over Larry King’s time slot on CNN. Earlier this year, Hall guest hosted Morgan’s show.
Ferriter and Hall will be executive producers on the show.
While the Arsenio Hall show will not debut for another 15 months, Nogawski says it will likely be a modern version of Hall’s old show.
“If we put on the same type of show, meaning with that party feel where the host is like a friend who’s talking to a celebrity, I don’t think anybody else is doing that,” he says. “I don’t think anyone is putting on a bad product. But no one’s doing late night like Arsenio does.”