CBS Signs Arsenio Hall to Develop Late-Night TV Program

CBS Corp., owner of the network that is home to David Letterman’s late-night program, agreed to develop a syndicated talk show with Arsenio Hall that will debut toward the end of next year.

The weeknight show featuring Hall, 56, will be introduced on 17 stations owned by Tribune Co., including outlets in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, CBS Corp.’s Los Angeles-based syndication division said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. None of Tribune’s stations are CBS affiliates.

The deal lets CBS offer a new late-night program to stations with other affiliations, including Fox and CW. Airing at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., the hour-long show program by CBS Television Distribution will compete in some regions with Letterman, the network’s late-night star, and NBC’s Jay Leno, 62. Letterman, 65, agreed in April to a new contract through 2014 that beats Johnny Carson’s 30-year record.

Tom Keaney, a spokesman for Letterman, declined in an e-mail to comment on the agreement with Hall.

CBS, owner of the most-watched TV network, gained 1 percent to $31.95 at the close of New York trading. The stock has gained 18 percent this year.

Hall, who recently won NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” is best known for hosting the “The Arsenio Hall Show,” a late-night syndicated talk show produced by Paramount Domestic Television, now CBS Television Distribution, which ran from 1989 to 1994, according to the statement.

Tribune, based in Chicago, is a partner on the production, CBS said. The show is already sold in the 10 largest U.S. markets and 17 of the top 20, according to the company.

More Stations

Also signing on are major market stations from the CBS Television Stations group including Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa and Pittsburgh, plus Local TV LLC stations including markets in Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Greensboro and Norfolk, CBS said.

Tribune, also owner of the namesake Chicago newspaper and Los Angeles Times, is awaiting court approval of a plan to leave bankruptcy protection, lawyers involved in the case said this month. A ruling may come in early July, they said.

The company is trying for the second time to win approval of a reorganization plan that settles legal claims against the senior lenders that funded the company’s 2007 buyout, which critics said left the television and newspaper company insolvent.

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