Ice Network

Brown's biggest fan? Why, Arsenio Hall, of course

Skater's mom, sister both have worked for TV talk show host
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Arsenio Hall snuggles with baby Jason Brown. -courtesy of Marla Brown

When Arsenio Hall's new TV show debuts Monday night, it's likely that Jason Brown will be watching. Hall has known Brown since he was a baby.

"He's like another dad to me," Brown said.

Brown's mother, Marla, was the executive producer of The Arsenio Hall Show for its entire first run, from 1989-94. Hall has maintained a special place in the lives of Marla and her family.

"Since the beginning of the show, we've been really close to him," Jason said. "My mom is his son's godmother. We try to visit every time we go to California, once every year or two. His house is a magical place up in the mountains. There's a pool inside -- it's beautiful."

Hall has kept up with Jason's skating throughout his competitive career, and he came to the Glacier Falls competition in 2012 to cheer him on.

"He can't be more supportive of my skating," Jason said. "He sends us mail and congratulations, and says how proud he is of me."

With the Olympics coming up, it's possible that figure skaters may turn up on Hall's new show, also called The Arsenio Hall Show. Kristi Yamaguchi and Tai Babilonia appeared on the previous version.

"He makes funny comments like, 'When you make it to the Olympics, you can be on the show. We have athlete guests!'" Jason said. "He's beyond supportive, through emails and texts. Whenever I see him, he's always asking me about skating. He's genuinely excited about it."

Marla met Hall when he was guest hosting The Late Show; she had worked for Regis Philbin immediately after college and was in Los Angeles working on a show in the same building as The Late Show. She told Hall she had heard he was going to need an executive producer for his new show, and the two soon became a team.

"I was 26," Marla said. "We were both kids. He had never hosted a show, I had never produced a show. When you're very inexperienced, you take bigger risks, and you're more adventurous. We had nothing to lose."

Jason's older sister, Jordan, was born on The Arsenio Hall Show -- almost literally.

"Jordan was born at 3:15 in the afternoon, and while I was in labor and delivery, they were putting calls through from the show, saying, 'Is the baby born yet?'" Marla said. "We went live at 5:15, and they had a camera crew at Cedar Sinai to interview me with the baby. Dr. Ruth came to visit me, because she had been a guest on the show."

Jordan, a junior at Tufts University, spent the summer interning for Hall. Jason says Jordan would like to work on the show after she graduates.

"She found it really interesting and really loved it," he said. "She's gotten to do some pretty cool things. She went to the VMAs. I'm very jealous!"

The new Arsenio Hall Show will combine interviews with comedy and music, as the first version did with great success. MC Hammer made his television debut on the show, so Marla thought it was funny that Rohene Ward choreographed a show number for Jason to a Hammer song last year.

"I was like, I know Hammer!" she said.

Marla will be in the audience for the debut of Hall's show Monday.

"I just really want to be there to support him," she said. "There's a special place in my heart for him and the show. He's a very special guy. There's nothing like seeing someone reach that success. I wanted to be there and share in his happiness."