The Magic Hour (talk show)
|The Magic Hour|
|Written by||Bart Jennett
Ernest Nyle Brown
|Directed by||Michael Dimich|
|Presented by||Earvin "Magic" Johnson|
|Narrated by||Peter Michael
|Composer(s)||Alan Ari Lazar
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|Executive producer(s)||Giovanni Brewer
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Ernest Nyle Brown
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Magic Johnson Entertainment
|Original release||June 8– September 4, 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. Comedian and actor Tommy Davidson was brought in as Johnson's 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.
Howard Stern appearance
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. 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). Stern appeared on the July 2 broadcast with the band, the Losers, and played the song "Wipe Out". 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".
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."
In an appearance on the Bob and Tom radio program, Craig Shoemaker said Johnson was earnest, but ridiculed him for taking little interest in the program. According to Shoemaker, Johnson usually showed up at the studio shortly before the taping was set to begin, asking the staff, "So, what are we going to do today?"
In popular culture
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. For example, in the game show sketch which parodied Jeopardy!, Johnson stumbled over the clues. In another sketch, he struggles to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to children and resorts to having one of the children read the book to him. However, the closing of the sketch would always consist of two words Johnson could understand: "You're Cancelled!".
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. At the end of the episode, another graphic appears on the screen: "RIP 'Magic Hour', 1998-1998."
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.
- Braxton, Greg (1998-06-26). "Embattled 'Magic Hour' to Try Different Strategy". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- "Magic Johnson's late night talk show, 'The Magic Hour,' is cancelled". Jet. 1998-08-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- "The Magic Hour: Episode dated 2 July 1998". imdb.com. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- Fretts, Bruce (1998-07-17). "Remote Patrol". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Stern Makes 'magic' Ratings". The Hollywood Reporter. 1998-07-06. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- Wolk, Josh (1998-07-02). "Magic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "'Magic Hour' Canceled". The New York Times. 1998-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- "Magic Calls Foul". People. 1998-09-14. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- 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.