Who is Arsenio Hall? The former late night talk show host was the guy who co-starred in Coming To America with actor Eddie Murphy. Known for being funny and friendly to celebrity guests who graced his stage for celebrity interviews, few people even noticed the show go off the air after suffering a slippery slope of Neilsen ratings slide declines. If you want to know what he has been up to lately, tune into Celebrity Apprentice 2012. He’s one of the contestants on the NBC reality television show that is hosted by the rich and famous New Yorker Donald Trump. Hall is playing the game for Magic Johnson’s A.I.D.S. charity — a celebrity athlete who is sick with HIV, knows well and likes. Will he ask funny celebrity friends like Murphy or even celebrity athlete Magic Johnson himself to help him with his fundraising plight?
Former late night show host and comedian Arsenio Hall has been tapped by Donald Trump for the fifth season of Celebrity Apprentice, according to Mail Online. Word has it that Trump is trying to up the ante on the number of celebrity contestants on the show, but with celebs like Arsenio Hall, former Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno, and original Star Trek actor George Takei [known as Mr. Sulu, who recently married his gay partner of many years], the men makin special guest appearances seem to be a little more low-key than last season’s cast.
In the first two weeks of the show, very few fireworks between the men flew. Where was the spark, the machismo, the bitter arguments? So far, there has not been much. According to Access Hollywood, Arsenio had this to say about fellow contestant Clay Aiken (the gay celebrity dad, country music singer, and former runner-up for the title of American Idol). Hall claimed the effervescent Aiken is, “The sweetest guy, a good friend too… He’s charming, he’s bright and he’s one of my best friends… Something about me and Clay bonded.”
Competitors that will draw big ratings because of their heated debates? Show fans think not.
So are we likely to see a serious competition among this season’s competitors, or is there just a little too much camaraderie among the cast to keep up the ratings for the fifth season, dominated by the demanding and domineering business mogul, Donald Trump.
It seems almost as if the line-up Trump has in mind is set up to cause a controversy that needs not happen. While it’s likely to generate ratings, which surely both Trump and the show’s creator, NBC, are shooting for, are the choices artificially chosen to create some hurt feelings and perhaps some celebrity in-fighting? One can only guess.
What’s a given is last season of Celebrity Apprentice did set up controversy between two of its black female contestants, Star Jones and NeNe Leaks, according to the Tampa Bay Times, so it’s curious that this time around Trump (or NBC) has chosen to avoid any black female contestants on this fifth season of the show. Low ratings? Criticism of the fighting between Jones and Leaks? Anything is possible. But so far, the contestants scheduled to be on the first episode of season five of Celebrity Apprentice seem to have more love for one another than anything else.
Arsenio Hall will be playing for the Magic Johnson Foundation, supporting urban youth through health, social, physical and academic education with a focus on HIV and AIDS for the last 20 years, when the NBA star celeb was diagnosed with HIV back in 1991, shortly before he retired from playing professional basketball.
Oddly enough, celebrity death hoax rumors swirled earlier in the year about actor Eddie Murphy, another celebrity friend of Arsenio Hall who played the lead role in Hall’s last memorable hit film Coming To America. Murphy was scheduled to host the Oscars in 2012 but backed out. In the weeks after he was replaced by comedian Billy Crystal, a Twitter user spread the word — falsely — that Murphy was dead.
Since Hall has been out of the limelight for so long, one would have thought that the errant news site might have targeted him instead.
But both men are alive and well, and it’s nice to see Arsenio’s name in the celebrity news again. Will he call on Eddie Murphy to help him raise money for one of the hit show’s charitable challenges?
Let’s hope that after all the celebrity interviews Hall has done over the years that he still has access to Murphy and a big fat Rolodex of names of wealthy, high-powered, and influential Hollywood friends.