By Tambay A. Obenson
shadow and act
Arsenio Hall Show executive producer/showrunner Neal Kendeall has left the show.
Eric Pankowski, senior VP of programming and development for the show’s distributor CBS TV Distribution, will step in as interim showrunner.
Hall will be conducting the search for a new executive producer, one that he hopes will be a better fit and make the faltering show a success.
The new show’s dipping ratings (after a promising premiere week) likely prompted this change – a ratings slide that can be attributed to what I’ve said since the first episode: the opening monologue and skits aren’t funny enough; the interviews aren’t all that interesting, and that a change of writing staff, style or even format might be in order.
After watching the first full week of episodes, I just wasn’t hooked. I’ve tuned in irregularly since that first week, but rarely long enough each time to watch entire episodes, because I’m just not engaged enough.
A restructuring was definitely in order if the show must be saved, and maybe this is only the beginning.
Despite my lackluster reaction to the show, I’m genuinely rooting for Hall’s success – especially given the noticeable absence of black late night talk-show hosts. I was a huge fan of the previous Arsenio Hall Show., but maybe that’s because I was younger then and what worked for me 20 years ago might not work now.
And while I’m not suggesting that the show might eventually be canceled, or not renewed for a second season, times have changed. The TV landscape isn’t at all what it used to be, as television itself has seen a radical transformation in the last decade, thanks in large part to the Internet. Competition for eyeballs is INTENSE, with so much demanding the audience’s attention, even when at home. So content creators really need to stand out if they’re to survive.
They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression, a statement that carries even more weight today in TV land than it ever did, with network execs and their itchy trigger fingers, not hesitating to cancel new shows if they aren’t hits right from the start.
Let’s see where this search for a new showrunner leads…