Arsenio hits the Paytons' place tonight

August 13, 1993|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,Staff Writer

Washington -- It's the updated version of the "Peyton Place" television soap:

Did Arsenio Hall pick the Paytons of Montgomery County as winners of a viewers contest to have an episode of his late-night show taped from their home just because they offered him Maryland crabs and a 3 1/2 -acre back yard? Or was it because they're in one of the CBS markets (WUSA-Channel 9) that has yet to announce whether it will continue airing Arsenio at 11:30 week nights or switch to David Letterman's hotly anticipated new show?

"You know what you do, you don't even get into that stuff," Arsenio Hall said yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel, where he met the press and the Paytons in advance of tonight's taping of his show from their Derwood back yard, near Rockville. "You let American viewers handle it."

Mr. Hall, his Posse band and guests singer Patti LaBelle, R&B-man Johnny Gill and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, will woop-woop-woop it up tonight from the home of Freddie, 47, and Selena Payton, 48, and their sons, Freddie Jr., 27, and Devin, 19. They'll start taping the hour-long show at 7:30 tonight for airing at its usual slot four hours later. (The show will air locally on WBAL-Channel 11, which is sticking with Arsenio.)

Out of several thousand entries to the "Arsenio in the House" contest, the Paytons were selected because Mr. Hall wanted to go straight to the source.

"You know, by the time they get to L.A., it's not even a crab anymore. It's plastic! It has an agent! It has little implants!" joked Mr. Hall, looking tres West Coast in his lavender jacket and blue-mirrored sunglasses.

Mr. Hall also lavished praise on the Paytons and Mrs. Payton's in-laws, Lynda and Gregory Lacey, who live in Germantown, but suggested the Paytons' place because of their spacious back yard, what Mr. Hall called "Woodstock 'N the Hood."

"This family represents something we miss when we're watching 'Menace II Society,' " Mr. Hall said. "Look at these sons -- they're not wearing beepers . . . they're not members of gangs.

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