Greatest Hits Lineup Is So Good, Even This Grown Man (Arsenio Hall) Stood On His Tippy Toes

Greatest Hits host Arsenio Hall © 2016 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Credit: ABC/Greg Gayne.

Arsenio Hall is putting another check on his bucket list as host of ABC’s new Greatest Hits (beginning Thursday, June 30 at 9/8c), a six-episode summer concert series that melds some of today’s hottest artists with the classics from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

“This is one of those things where when my lawyer called me, she said, ‘Remember the time you put the Temptations on with Boyz II Men?’ I said, ‘Oh yeah. That was like their little dream,’” Hall shares. “‘What do you think of that as a show?’ she asks. I said, ‘Why are you asking?’ Because I didn’t want to play the game anymore, it was sounding exciting.”

And exciting it is, as ABC is putting together a greatest hits lineup like no other, combining different artists from the past and the present and bringing them together to “do these little dream things.”

How about these pairings!?!
REO Speedwagon with Pitbull
Bonnie Raitt with Andra Day
Backstreet Boys with Meghan Trainor
LeAnn Womack with Rachel Platten
Foreigner and Fun’s Nate Ruess

“You realize how universal and amazing music can be, and how it can bridge everything from generations to racial gaps and culture,” Hall says. And when it comes to working with his co-host — up-and-coming country star Kelsea Ballerina — it becomes even more clear. “I mean, when we talk, we may not be able to agree on Trump or Hilary or whoever, but when we sit and talk music, we’re like, me and this 22-year old are at one.”

“I grew up on Burt Sugarman, which is where Ken Ehrlich [producer of Greatest Hits] cut his teeth, and The Midnight Special,” enthuses Hall. “I grew up on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. One of my first jobs was Solid Gold. If you look at this, you visually see a lot of those shows combined into this.”

And when it comes to combinations, the artists they are meshing together in the series are both unexpected and fun, and some soulfully moving — take REO Speedwagon and Pitbull or Meghan Trainor and the Backstreet Boys.

“I’m a grown man from the ghetto of Cleveland, but I stood on my tippy toes in the back of that room and I couldn’t believe the energy,” Hall says of the Trainor/Backstreet Boys event. Another concert that floored him: “Jason Derulo does something that you and your daughter will bug out about. It’s unbelievable, and it connects him to Michael Jackson, and it’s not what anyone would expect. You know, everybody’s going to think, ‘I bet he’s gonna do “Beat It!”’ Wait till you see it. It’s very classy. He’s a hell of a talent.”

The talent involved in the series spans the decades and has not been a challenge to attract, as Hall says “musicians love to ‘musish’ — the big joke around the set is we need another summer because there’s so many great ideas.”

© 2016 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Credit: Byron Cohen

GREATEST HITS Episode Guide:

Thursday, June 30 at 9/8c
Episode: 1980-1985
Performances by Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Ray Parker, Jr., Jason Derulo, Kenny Loggins, Kim Carnes, Rick Springfield and Kool & The Gang. The episode will showcase some of the greatest hits from the early ’80s, including a duet with REO Speedwagon and Pitbull, and a special tribute to Michael Jackson performed by Jason Derulo.
Musical performances from 1980-1985 include:
REO Speedwagon performs “Keep On Loving You” and a duet with Pitbull performing “Messin’ Around”
Ray Parker Jr. – “Ghostbusters”
Jason Derulo – “Human Nature”
Kenny Loggins – “Footloose”
Kim Carnes – “Bette Davis Eyes”
Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”
Kool & The Gang – “Celebration”

Thursday, July 7 at 9/8c:
Episode: 1995-2000
Features collaborations with Backstreet Boys & Meghan Trainor, Coolio & CeeLo Green, Jewel & Tori Kelly, LL COOL J & Wiz Khalifa and an unforgettable acoustic performance by Hanson. The episode also features John Legend’s rendition of Lauryn Hill’s smash hits “Ex Factor” and “Doo Wop (That Thing).”
Musical performances from 1995-2000 include:
Backstreet Boys & Meghan Trainor – “I Want It That Way”
Coolio & CeeLo Green – “Gangsta’s Paradise”
John Legend – “Ex Factor/Doo Wop (That Thing)” (Lauryn Hill)
Jewel & Tori Kelly – “You Were Meant For Me”
LL COOL J & Wiz Khalifa – “Loungin’/We Dem Boyz”
Hanson – “Mmbop”
Backstreet Boys – “Everybody”

Thursday, July 14 at 9/8c
Episode: 1985-1990
Performances by Bret Michaels, Kenny Loggins, Miguel, Wilson Phillips, Grace Potter and unforgettable collaborations with Chicago & Aloe Blacc and Foreigner & Fun’s Nate Ruess. Music video vixen Tawny Kitaen makes a special appearance, as the series looks back at her memorable performance in White Snake’s “Here I Go Again” music video.
Musical performances from 1985-1990 include:
Bret Michaels – “Nothin’ But A Good Time” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
Kenny Loggins – “Danger Zone”
Miguel – Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”
Grace Potter – Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”
Chicago & Aloe Blacc – “Look Away”/”You’re The Inspiration”
Foreigner & Nate Ruess – “I Want To Know What Love Is”
Wilson Phillips – “Hold On”



  1. Why wasn’t R.Kelly part of this ? At least a tribute. He was a big part of the 90s and had a lot great hits. Very disappointed.

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