WATCH the first episode of Joan Rivers’ late night Fox talk show
Yesterday on Twitter and Facebook, I pointed out that one MAJOR piece of trivia that was left out of the coverage of Joan Rivers’ passing was that her late night talk show on Fox was actually their very first show ever.
Being a new network at the time, Fox wasn’t on nearly as many stations as they are now. Joan’s no-holds-barred style of comedy has always been somewhat controversial, so some stations were reluctant to carry her show. As a result Joan fought with the Fox execs, and they ultimately fired her. She was replaced by a rotating crop of hosts including a guy named… Arsenio Hall.
As ratings were growing on the nights Arsenio hosted, Fox made him the sole host. But, Fox only gave him a 13-week deal because they were already developing a replacement show… a horrible trainwreck known as The Wilton North Report. As the network started to run into problems with The Wilton North Report during pre-production, they tried to get Arsenio to stay longer, but he had already committed to co-starring in Coming to America with Eddie Murphy.
The Wilton North Report was cancelled after 21 days, and Fox tried once again to hire Arsenio. He once again declined because he had already signed a deal with Paramount to do his own syndicated talk show (which went on to become EXTREMELY successful).
Like Joan, Arsenio got one of his big breaks by first appearing on The Tonight Show. The guest host the night Arsenio made his Tonight Show debut was… Joan Rivers.
Part 1 of Joan’s first show on Fox is above. Part 2 is below.