Well, that didn’t take long.
In light of the recent controversy involving talk show host Arsenio Hall’s exclusion from a number of media pieces covering the current “battle for Late Night,” the apologies have started to creep in.
On Tuesday night, Hall, clearly upset that only a select group of Caucasian talk show hosts were mentioned in The New York Times and on NBC when discussing Jimmy Fallon’s evening competitors, urged his viewers to call the National Broadcasting Company and complain. Brian Williams of NBC News took the brunt of the anger (Hall provided viewers with a phone number to voice their complaints) and thus, Williams issued a statement on his program last night.
Referencing a used visual graphic that compiled the current leaders of Late Night, Williams pointed out that the graphic was “incomplete” and mentioned two omissions. “Among others, it left off The Pete Holmes Show on TBS and it excluded Arsenio Hall’s syndicated talk show,” Williams noted, “Arsenio is a Late Night veteran and he took us to task on his own show. He even urged his audience members to call our newsroom. ”
Williams then went on to state that Arsenio was in good company, mentioning NBC’s various snubs and embarrassing snafus in the past (i.e. the station misspelled “Philadelphia” last night when providing a weather report).
What was clear from Williams’s apology was that Hall’s disappointment really struck a nerve with NBC. Even though Williams’s “apology segment” gave a shout-out to Pete Holmes, a white comedian from Los Angeles whose Late Night program began in late October, Hall received an extended career appraisal; to indicate that it wasn’t originally an omission based on race, Holmes’s inclusion felt somewhat tacked on as an afterthought.
Hall clearly appeared touched by NBC’s sprawling attempts to make good, and that’s what this was all about. It showed that many people (not just viewers of his program) thought these recent string of events felt a little fishy, and, even if it was just a foolish oversight, a tad mean-spirited. Perhaps that so-called “dwindling fanbase” was stronger than originally expected. The Dog Pound has returned.