The appearance of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was highly controversial due to remarks by Farrakhan that many felt were anti-Semitic and homophobic. Protests from Jewish and gay groups pressured Hall to cancel Farrakhan's appearance but Hall adamantly refused. Hall agreed to feature pre-taped segments featuring opposing viewpoints but he did not air any of them. Some affiliates put a disclaimer before the episode warning viewers. The furor over this episode was a major reason why Hall and Paramount decided not to renew his contract. See more »
I just finished reading some of the comments here about Arsenio's show, and while I agree with some, I heavily disagree with others. First of all, there was no "hip hop backlash" around the time that grunge rock became popular. At the time hip hop began to reach it's commercial peak as well. Furthermore, Arsenio frequently had grunge and rock performers on his show; from Poison to Nirvana to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Radiohead. Many are quick to associate Arsenio's show with hip hop, simply because he is a black man and was the first to really showcase it, but that is not all he ever had on. His musical guests were a mixed bag: pop, urban, country, rock, etc.
What killed Arsenio was that he over time just simply wore thin. In retrospect, it is very true that Arsenio's show was very "1989," and he had a hard time moving forward from that. His interviewing skills were often lacking, and his opening monologues were at times poor. Everything wrong with the show starting out that people dismissed because he was young, hip and someone *new* to watch on late night continued to haunt him, and over time people started to not dismiss it anymore.
Toward 1993-1994, his show became dreadfully stale, painfully slow moving, and annoyingly unfunny. In the meantime, all the hoopla surrounding the Jay/Dave fight over the Tonight Show didn't help matters because it led late night audiences (and sponsors) to focus on them rather than Arsenio.
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