Late-night television underwent a major shift this week as “The Tonight Show” resurrected its original New York City studio, where Johnny Carson once held court, with newly appointed host Jimmy Fallon. The change marked the end of the show’s 42-year run in Los Angeles.
With former host Jay Leno no longer at the helm of the production, industry experts have already begun buzzing about who will now be considered the king or queen of late-night talk show royalty.
“The time slot will now be fought over by two Jimmys and a Dave, along with all the other media out there slugging it out for the turf Johnny Carson used to own outright,” Brian Williams said during a recent NBC Nightly News interview segmentcovering Fallon’s transition.
Besides Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Dave Letterman, Williams also went on to cite Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Handler, Jon Stewart, Craig Ferguson, Andy Cohen, Carson Daly and Stephen Colbert, laying out their faces in a “Brady Bunch”-style grid.
However, one name was missing from Williams’ late-night roundup: Arsenio Hall, host of “The Arsenio Hall Show.”
Hall addressed his absence from Williams’ list during Tuesday’s show, saying that he didn’t want to play the part of “angry black man.”
“If you’re doing a story about late night, all I ask is that you mention me,” he said. “You don’t even have to use a photo. I know how journalism is these days. Use Samuel L. Jackson’s, it doesn’t have to be my photo. I go for anything. Use Laurence Fishburne … All I ask is that you mention me. Next time you do the Brady Bunch montage of late night, let me be in the middle where Alice used to be.”
Check out more of Arsenio Hall’s response, including his thoughts on how fans can help him relay his message to Williams, in the clip above.
UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that NBC’s Brian Williams made an on-air statement regarding the omission that Arsenio Hall took issue with. From the Associated Press:
“Arsenio is a late-night veteran and he took us to task on his show and he even urged his audience members to call our newsroom,” Williams said on his “Nightly News” telecast Wednesday from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.”So, in apologizing to Arsenio we just wanted to point out: At least you’re in good company here,” Williams continued, noting that the newscast last year left New Hampshire off a map and on Tuesday misspelled Philadelphia on-screen.