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TV

Johnson

Magic 'having so much fun' with new talk show

From Correspondent Gloria Hillard

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Ask Magic Johnson why he's hosting a late night talk show and the answer is simple.

"Its a challenge and I needed a challenge in my life right now," the former Los Angeles Lakers star says.

Magic on the set of his new talk show

Johnson, who is remembered as the smiling NBA legend forced to retire from basketball after contracting HIV, is host of Twentieth Television's "The Magic Hour." While Johnson is leaving joke-filled monologues to people like David Letterman and Jay Leno, the show is similar to other late night excursions. It includes skits, interviews with celebrities, and bantering with the band.

'I am so blessed'

Since his 1991 announcement that he had HIV, Johnson has worn many hats: businessman, NBA coach, AIDS activist. But he always had a love for the spotlight, and now he says he's living a dream.

"I am so blessed and lucky to be able to find something I truly love and I'm passionate about and that I'm having so much fun doing," Johnson says.

He credits medical advancements and his personal faith with keeping his HIV in check.

The role model

"God had a plan for me and I'm just fulfilling that plan," Johnson says. "Just like HIV. I was the one that was supposed to go through that challenge and go through that period because that brought light to HIV and AIDS. They needed somebody and it was me, and I feel really good about what I have accomplished."

Now he wants others to have a role model to turn to when they turn on the television.

"I come from a small town in Lansing, Michigan, and there were very few people I could point to and say 'I want to be like him or that person,'" Johnson recalls. "So basically I had to watch TV and say 'I want to be like that person."


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