Brian Williams Apologizes to Arsenio Hall for Oversight

The pioneering host chided Williams for forgetting that he, too, left his mark on late-night TV. 

Brian Williams; Arsenio Hall
Brian Williams; Arsenio Hall Cindy Ord/Getty Images; Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Arsenio Hall is one of the most enduring names in late night history, and so he was more than a little P.O.ed that his name was excluded in an NBC report on the late night wars and Jimmy Fallon’s ascendancy,” Josh Feldman reported Wednesday for Mediaite. “Hall called out Brian Williams for his exclusion, and Williams apologized on the air tonight for the oversight.”

Hall noted on his show Tuesday that the New York Times also excluded him in a Sunday Arts & Leisure story on late-night hosts.

Hall mentioned that reporters continually mention that the hosts are vying to continue the legacy of longtime late-night king Johnny Carson of “The Tonight Show,” but said he was the only one to survive competition with Carson. The roster of hosts presented by Williams “look like the Russian hockey team or something,” he said.

Hall said so that he did not appear to be “the angry black man,” hip-hop mogul Suge Knight, who joined Hall on stage, would volunteer to play that role.

Hall then gave out Williams’ office telephone number and urged viewers to call.

“Williams noted tonight he left out both Hall and Pete Holmes, who hosts the late night show following O’Brien’s, and pointed out the call-in campaign that Hall encouraged his viewers to get involved in,” Feldman wrote.

Eileen Murphy, spokeswoman for the Times, told Journal-isms by email that “the piece was about Jimmy Fallon and neither the piece nor the accompanying artwork was intended to be a fully inclusive portrait of all late night hosts.”

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