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In a few days, Arsenio Hall will reenter the talk show arena after a nearly twenty-year absence from the game. While some say the field is crowded, Hall is more determined than ever to go forth with the reboot of The Arsenio Hall Show.

Speaking with the AP, Hall likened his return to late-night television with the same trepidation he feels when taking to the skies. “You know how certain things make you nervous?” he said.  “I don’t like to fly, but once I’m on the plane and we’re over the Rockies and I’m watching a movie, I’m fine. Right now I feel like I do when I’m in the airport.”

Speaking of rides, a lot has happened to Hall since going off the air in 1994. Since then, former rivals Johnny Carson have passed on while current kings Dave Letterman and Jay Leno still duke it out in the prime 11:30 p.m. slot. With talk shows popping up seemingly every year, Hall doesn’t  feel any hesitation to go forward.

“I hear all the long-shot talk: `This is an impossible thing to do after all this time,” he responded. “The field is so crowded.’ But I still have to pursue my dream!”

Hall may not resonate in the minds of many young viewers but in the early 90s, his show served as a showcase for many rising Hip-Hop acts and he shared a rapport with guests that highlighted his ease in getting even the most closed up stars to open up. In earlier times, Hall was the only Black late-night host. W. Kamau Bell, who hosts cable station FX’s Totally Biased program, joins Hall in that distinction.

Hall, 57, got fans used to him again after winning NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice reality show competition in 2012. After announcing his plans last year to get back into the fold, Hall bravely admits to having butterflies and hinted that his “dog pound” will be in the building too.

“I don’t even know if I can live through that first minute,” he said. “You come out there, back after a billion years, there’s gonna be all kind of animal noises and people screaming.”

The Arsenio Hall Show debuts September 9 and will be broadcast via syndication in select markets.

Photo: CBS Syndication

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