×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TCA: Robin Williams, Arsenio Hall Add Nostalgic Touch to CBS’ Press Tour

Latenight host's return highlights difficulty grooming talk talent

Depending on one’s point of view, the back-to-back appearances by Robin Williams — in a new sitcom — and Arsenio Hall — in a new latenight talkshow — at CBS’ portion of the TV Critics Assn. tour are either a warm note of nostalgia, or an indictment of the industry’s failure to groom new talent.

Williams was decidedly low-key during his session in connection with “The Crazy Ones,” his new CBS comedy, other than an apparent obsession with joking about New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Asked about the difference between doing a TV show now and the days of “Mork & Mindy,” he quipped, “The last time I was on TV ‘wired’ meant a gram and a bottle of Jack Daniels.”

If Williams sounded happy just to have a regular gig, Hall, by contrast — after a promo clip that said, “The legend returns to latenight” — was an exhausting ball of energy, leaping to tout his new program even before the publicist could introduce him.

“I’m trying to be in the game,” Hall said of the seemingly crowded latenight landscape, while frequently referencing highlights from the past show, such as Bill Clinton’s saxophone-playing appearance and its influence on the way presidential candidates approach media

Having once famously said he was going to “kick Leno’s ass” in the ratings, he likened his relationship with Jay Leno today to two great boxers who can appreciate each other more once they’ve left the ring.

Exec producer Neal Kendall said the show will push music front and center, as opposed to just making it the last few minutes of the hour, as often happens elsewhere. But it was pretty clear from the session that like most latenight fare, one’s appreciation of “The Arsenio Hall Show” will be host dependent, not guest dependent.

The other exec producer, John Ferriter, also cited a desire to span a demographic swatch from those who were viewers of the first show to a younger contingent to whom it’s barely a memory.

Hall was correct on one point: However much the world has changed since “Arsenio” shook up latenight, the fundamentals haven’t really changed.

By that measure, Hall and Williams are back “in the game” for a simple reason: Despite all the people out there dying to get the call to play, there are never enough who truly can — or at least, who the networks are comfortable letting carry the ball.

More TV

  • China presentation mipcom

    Reality Shows, Rom-Coms and Ping Pong Dramas: Chinese Producers Show Off TV Exports

    At its best, television serves as a mirror for its audience. This year, the Mipcom conference trained its annual country-of-focus spotlight on original TV content produced in China. That proved to be a timely choice as the conference came on the heels of last week’s headline-making clashes between Chinese and Western cultural values in the [...]

  • Ronan Farrow Shepard Smith

    From Ronan Farrow to Shepard Smith, the Media News Is Nonstop (Column)

    There are so many big stories erupting on the media news front right now, it makes your head spin. All the upheaval is spurring spirited conversations across the industry that are sure to rage on for months. Of course, there’s the open warfare that’s broken out between Ronan Farrow and NBC News president Noah Oppenheim [...]

  • Nick Jonas, Shawn Levy Team for

    Nick Jonas, Shawn Levy Team for Netflix YA Series

    Nick Jonas and “Stranger Things” producer Shawn Levy are teaming on a YA holiday series which has been ordered at Netflix. The show in question, “Dash & Lily,” is based on the book series “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and will consist of eight 30-minute episodes, scheduled to [...]

  • 'Grease' Spinoff Series Ordered at HBO

    'Grease' Spinoff Series Ordered at HBO Max

    HBO Max is clearly hopelessly devoted to “Grease.” The streamer has issued a straight to series order for “Grease: Rydell High,” a spinoff of the original John Travolta and Olivia Newton John 1978 musical. The new series will be set in and around the world of Rydell High, the school which Danny and Sandy attended [...]

  • TV Ratings: '9-1-1' Down, 'Prodigal Son'

    TV Ratings: '9-1-1' Down, 'Prodigal Son' Steady for Fox

    After three weeks hovering around the 1.6 rating mark, “9-1-1” dipped in week four to tie with “The Voice” as the top show on Monday night. The disaster series wrapped its tsunami arc to a 1.4 rating and 6.4 million total viewers, shedding roughly 1 million sets of eyeballs from last week. In better news [...]

  • A autora Carla Faour, a diretora

    Globo Presents ‘Second Call’ at Mipcom

    It’s been rare in recent decades that Latin American free to air tv has ventured into social drama as the realism needed to handle the genre has often been deemed to gritty to be entertaining. That’s not been the case for Brazil’s Globo however, which has moved waves and dales, which reaping prizes, with series [...]

  • Ronan Farrow NBC News Expose

    NBC News Chiefs Under Fire as Ronan Farrow Book Dishes Weinstein Dirt

    The long-awaited publication of Ronan Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” has unleashed a furor within NBC News. “Catch and Kill,” set for release Oct. 15, portrays NBC News and its leaders as compromised while Farrow pursued the story of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein — because [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content