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Mo’Nique, the bold, charismatic comedian and actress, can pinpoint exactly when she started to fall out of love with late-night television.

It happened in the spring of 1994, when Arsenio Hall, the man who broke the genre’s color barrier, walked away from his popular syndicated show.

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“When Arsenio left late-night, so did I,” she recalls. “I just hated to see him go. When you watch television, you want to see people who look like you.”

Starting tonight, Mo’Nique will do her part to make that happen by hosting her own hour-long blend of talk and variety. “The Mo’Nique Show” is set to air Monday through Friday on BET, and she’s promising it will be a blast.

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“We want you to feel good. It’s a party, baby,” she purrs. “When you’re done watching, you’re going to go to bed with a smile on your face. We’re setting you up to have the sweetest dreams possible.”

That’s a rousing mission statement, indeed. But Mo’Nique won’t be the only one looking to bring a fresh look to a late-night scene long ruled by white guys. Also adding some color are Wanda Sykes and George Lopez, who launch their own programs in early November.

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