Zap2it: Some of the combinations of musical artists on ABC’s ‘Greatest Hits’ really is outside-the-box thinking.
Arsenio Hall: Yes, that’s what’s going on. It’s that kind of stuff. I would never imagine — well, yes I would because I’m the guy that put Gregory Hines and Stanley Clarke on stage together.
So I love when artists get to do something that has nothing — because we’re in a time now where the label can say, “Hey we want to find you a song. You need your own umbrella-ella-ella. You need your Rihanna pop.” Sometimes it’s so business-y and this show allows guys to say, ‘Hey I’ll come over and just play guitar on that.’ ” And that’s when it gets to be fun. “OK, he wants to play guitar on ‘Beat It.’ He wants to sing ‘Beat It.’ And Michael ain’t here. Bam!”
Zap2it: Were you able to entice some of the artists you had in your 1990s FOX late-night show to appear?
Arsenio Hall: Oh yeah. It’s been a week of hugging and high fives. Because REO Speedwagon, I remember like when I called the guitar player of REO Speedwagon and asked him if he’d do a track with Richie Sambora, and Cher was dating Richie. And I’m trying to get Cher to come out there to do something. I remember putting those three on stage. So I know a lot of these people but in all due respect, you’ve got to know that if you’re producing something or working on something with Ken Ehrlich, it’s the Ken Ehrlich name that makes a lot of people perk up. It’s nice to say Arsenio’s hosting it, but prime-time ABC Ken Ehrlich is the sentence that gets a lot of publicists to pay attention.