Making a late-night comeback nearly two decades after your talk show has been off the air is no mean feat, but the first night back was a great one for funnyman Arsenio Hall.

In fact, last night’s debut episode of The Arsenio Hall Show finished in first place, topping perennial late-night leader Jay Leno, whose Tonight Show regularly beats competitors The Late Show With David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

According to, The Arsenio Hall Show was Monday’s top-rated latenight broadcast in both the 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

Hall’s original show, Arsenio, ran from 1989 to 1984, and Hall upped the nostalgia factor in last night’s premiere with appearances from old pals Paula Abdul and Snoop Lion (who, as Snoop Dogg, appeared on Hall’s previous show). In addition, the show opened with a special introductory comedy bit featuring late-night competitor Jay Leno.

Although ratings typically drop after the first episode, this exceptionally strong start bodes well for Hall, who’s competing in a far more crowded late-night landscape than he was when his earlier show was on the air.