The Magic Hour (talk show)

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The Magic Hour
GenreTalk show
Written byBart Jennett
Colin Quashie
Ernest Nyle Brown
Directed byMichael Dimich
Presented byEarvin "Magic" Johnson
Narrated byPeter Michael
Craig Shoemaker
Composer(s)Alan Ari Lazar
James Leach
Lexy Shroyer
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
Executive producer(s)Giovanni Brewer
Jeffrey Fischgrund
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Lon Rosen
Producer(s)Joe Revello
Lora Wiley
Ernest Nyle Brown
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Magic Johnson Entertainment
20th Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkSyndicated
Original releaseJune 8 (1998-06-08) –
September 4, 1998 (1998-09-04)

The Magic Hour is an American talk show hosted by basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The series aired in syndication from June to September 1998.


Soon after its debut, the series was panned by critics citing Johnson's apparent nervousness as a host, his overly complimentary tone with his celebrity guests, and lack of chemistry with his sidekick, comedian Craig Shoemaker. The series was quickly retooled with Shoemaker being relegated to the supporting cast which included comedian Steve White and announcer Jimmy Hodson. Radio Personality and UPN Sports host Kenny Sargent was considered for Johnson’s new Ed McMahon styled side man but finally comedian and actor Tommy Davidson was brought in as the new sidekick and Johnson interacted more with the show band leader Sheila E. The format of the show was also changed to include more interview time with celebrity guests.[1][2]

Howard Stern appearance[edit]

One vocal critic of The Magic Hour was Howard Stern. Stern would regularly mock Johnson's diction and hosting abilities on his popular morning show.[1] In an attempt to confront Stern (and to boost ratings), Stern was booked to appear on the show as a guest (along with Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal[3]). Stern appeared on the July 2 broadcast with the band, the Losers, and played the song "Wipe Out".[4] While being interviewed by Johnson, Stern asked Johnson about his lifestyle prior to contracting HIV and if he practiced safe sex with his wife. Stern also asked about "the white guy comedian", referring to Johnson's previous sidekick, Craig Shoemaker, who had been fired shortly before Stern's appearance for publicly calling the show "an absolute nightmare".[5][6]


The highly publicized episode featuring Stern increased viewership for a time,[5] but ratings soon dropped off. The series was canceled after eight weeks.[7]

Johnson later blamed the demise of his talk show on a lack of support from black celebrities who refused or could not appear on his show. Johnson claimed, "Their managers and agents keep them off of the black shows."[8]

In popular culture[edit]

The Magic Hour was lampooned on the sketch comedy show MADtv. The show began to parody the idea of Magic Johnson having other types of jobs, including that of a game show host and judge. Each sketch consisted of Magic Johnson (portrayed by Aries Spears) struggling to read.

The sitcom Unhappily Ever After also made fun of the show in a fall-1998 episode. Ryan (Kevin Connolly) makes a pass at a girl, who turns him down, saying she's watching a magic show. However, she's referring to the short-lived talk show, and the producers superimpose an on-screen graphic lampooning the show.

In a 2016 episode of Comedy Bang! Bang!, the show was referenced in a sketch where co-hosts Scott Aukerman and "Weird Al" Yankovic visit a museum based on popular television shows. At one point, a kid yells out "Look, mommy, it's that talk show host I love!" and then points at a cardboard cutout of Johnson.

In his book What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, author David Hofstede ranked the show at #26 on the list.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Braxton, Greg (1998-06-26). "Embattled 'Magic Hour' to Try Different Strategy". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  2. ^ "Magic Johnson's late night talk show, 'The Magic Hour,' is cancelled". Jet. 1998-08-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  3. ^ "The Magic Hour: Episode dated 2 July 1998". Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  4. ^ Fretts, Bruce (1998-07-17). "Remote Patrol". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  5. ^ a b "Stern Makes 'magic' Ratings". The Hollywood Reporter. 1998-07-06. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  6. ^ Wolk, Josh (1998-07-02). "Magic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  7. ^ "'Magic Hour' Canceled". The New York Times. 1998-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  8. ^ "Magic Calls Foul". People. 1998-09-14. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  9. ^ David Hofstede (2004). What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History. Back Stage Books. pp. 148–150. ISBN 0-8230-8441-8.

External links[edit]