Craig Ferguson Leaving ‘The Late Late Show’ – What Should CBS Do Next?

Published 11 months ago by

craig ferguson leaving cbs geoff Craig Ferguson Leaving The Late Late Show   What Should CBS Do Next?

It’s a sad day for fans of irreverent late night comedy, everybody. Craig Ferguson has announced that he will “consciously uncouple” from CBS and leave behind his Late Late Show desk at the end of this year, exiting just shy of his 10-year anniversary with the show and a bit before his mentor and lead-in, David Letterman, who will be replaced by Stephen Colbert at some point in 2015.

Created nearly 20 years ago, The Late Late Show hasn’t achieved the legendary status that NBC’s Late Night show has, but Ferguson has been its most successful alumnus, doubling the tenure of both Tom Snyder and Craig Kilborn while winning a legion of fans who have celebrated the host’s more casual, sometimes rebellious, and often off-the-wall style.

Secretariat the dancing horse, Geoff the robot skeleton sidekick, the awkward pause, Wavy Ranchero the crocodile puppet, and Ferguson’s penchant for going off-book will surely be the bullet points when his legacy is written, but there have also been moments of great depth on the show.

Ferguson’s handling of the Boston Marathon bombing last year earned him wide acclaim, as have his interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu (which netted the show a 2009 Peabody Award) and the one-on-one intimate chat Ferguson had with Stephen Fry back in 2010 that Ferguson did in celebration of late night history, Tom Snyder, and the lost art of conversation.

In addition to these moments, Ferguson has also seemingly hid nothing from his audience, talking openly about the death of his parents, his past substance abuse and his path to sobriety (most notably during a monologue about why he would refrain from making fun of Britney Spears back in 2007), and the Scottish born comic’s path to US citizenship.

craig ferguson leaving cbs Craig Ferguson Leaving The Late Late Show   What Should CBS Do Next?

But while Ferguson has a had a great ride, he has also repeatedly indicated that he might not be a sure bet to stick around when Letterman left CBS, and last night he made it a point to tell his audience that he is leaving on his own terms and that he had almost left two years ago. During his time on the air, Ferguson maintained the career of someone who certainly didn’t plan on being a late night lifer, with multiple one-hour specials, a novel (“Between the Bridge and the River”) and a memoir (“America on Purpose”).

As for the future, The Wrap indicates that Ferguson has a few things in progress with his production company, Green Mountain West, including a syndicated game show that is set to debut in the fall, though it’s fair to wonder if Ferguson will seek out another late night position (perhaps something on a weekly basis) at some point, or if he will instead consider this phase of his career complete and successful.

Regarding the future of The Late Late Show, that is a wide open question. David Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, controlled ownership of the 12:35 show, but with Letterman leaving, that arrangement is clearly null and it’s not likely that Colbert has the same bargaining power on his way in the door as Letterman did when he secured that right, which Johnny Carson also had with NBC in his heyday. Really, CBS could go in any number of directions with Stephen Colbert’s eventual running mate, including shuttering the program altogether.

craig ferguson late show Craig Ferguson Leaving The Late Late Show   What Should CBS Do Next?

While Ferguson has received ample critical acclaim, his show has not been a runaway ratings success and it isn’t necessarily cheap (with Ferguson’s reportedly pulling in about $13 million dollars a year), frequently under-drawing against his NBC competition over the years, including the newborn Late Night with Seth Meyers, which has averaged about 25% more total viewers than The Late Late Show since its February debut.

Still, while Ferguson’s iteration wasn’t a gold mine for CBS, it’s entirely possible that the network could choose to field a program with a fresh face and save money on the overhead rather than cede the 12:35 timeslot to NBC. A move that could be good for the state of broadcast late night comedy, a medium that is in desperate need of legitimately fresh blood (not another established star) and one that should mimic cable’s willingness to be less precious about these shows and take chances with a young talent that could one day become a star.

A young talent that might also embrace Ferguson’s legacy by going their own way, because the thing that broadcast late night needs more than anything else is a bit of flavor and a bit of uniqueness, especially now that its most unique show is going the way of the Dodo.


The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson airs on CBS Monday through Friday @12:35am.

Source: The Wrap

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. Nooooooo!

    • he off the air,Hero . . . Ty!

  2. Someone tell me this is all some cruel joke!?

  3. This. This makes me sad. :(

  4. Craig Ferguson made me laugh more than any other late night comedian. His honesty
    and humility is awesome.

  5. Just when I thought this day was going to end perfectly…. dang. I think he’s hilarious.

  6. Man, my wife said in a kinda sad voice “look at thus…” and I saw the article and I just felt sad. I knew he would leave and was expecting it eventually but not this year…Craig’s the only reason I even try to stay up late and its just a real bummer that he’s going relativity soon. I hope the next guy can be at least half as charismatic and untradtional as Craig.

  7. This is sad news not surprising really though i kind of expected this to happen but i kept on trying to think positive and i didn’t think he was going to leave so soon i really wanted to possibly see him and Colbert on CBS together for at least a year.He was the only reason i stayed up so late and pike theme song says “you can always sleep through work tomorrow”.Wonder what he’s going to do after the show.

  8. What should cbs do next?

  9. Well he was one of the few late night hosts who could make me crack a smile. And trust me when I tell ya that’s hard to do!

  10. Well this is depressing :(

  11. Ach! What a downer

    First Leno then Ferguson leaving. It’s the end of an era in Late Night television.
    I need a pint

  12. The new trend is for the hosts to leave their shows?

  13. POO POO!!!! watch the kevin pollack show on you tube ep 53 with Craig!!

  14. This just is a bad dream, I just watched the chat show a week ago and now it is coming true!!! I will so miss the entertainment at 12:35 am that Craig and the late late show family gave everyone!!!!!!

  15. Too bad. I’m sure CBS will miss him once Chelsea Handler tanks. Or whoever else they’re forcing him out for.

    • I believe I read that Chelsea is quitting when her contract is up as well. So lots of openings.

      Ferguson is a good actor so I look forward to seeing him in some movies and tv shows.

  16. That’s a sad day for late shows, although I must admit that the Late Late show has turned pretty stale lately. The same jokes were repeated over and over and over and over, and Craig’s “I don’t care” attitude felt more often than not like a true sentiment than a running gag. Now we know why.

  17. I know this might be censored, but ‘Sh*t.’ Ruined the whole day….

  18. This makes me sad. Very, very sad. Craig is, IMO, the best late night hose by far. No agendas, just funny entertainment. I’m going to miss him.

    • *host not hose. Vic, where’s the dang edit button?!?!

  19. After observing Craig’s agility on his show, I wonder if he would consider being on “Dancing with the Stars”.

  20. You are making a big mistake. Give Mr. Ferguson an extension to his show and pay him whatever he asks. I as millions of others love his show and I will hold it against CBS’s Executive Producer for it’s demise. He very much appeals to the older audience of this country. His youthful maturity is an asset and it’s relaxing to escape reality, get informed and just be plain silly during these hard economic times in America. I just hope Stephen Colbert can “pick up the slack” as a result of The Late Late Show’s cancellation.

  21. Craig Ferguson leaving The Late Show, for (Say it ain’t so) A Game Show?

    This is like Picasso announcing he was giving up fine art…so that he could focus on house painting.

    Craig should be arrested…for a criminal waste of talent.

    He is simply the best, most refreshing, super-talent who has ever been on the late night Television scene since…since…since…

    and he’s leaving…

    for a… game show?

    Next you’ll be telling me Michelangelo…should have given it all up — to become a bee keeper.

  22. Booking Jay Leno for last guest is the ultimate affectionate, loving middle finger to Letterman that Craig could have possibly given him.

    I’m not sure I can understand the sour grapes, it’s not like Fergusion ever had the chops to be the 11:35 guy – largely in-part due to terrible guest booking over the long haul. Niche audiences doesn’t equal big ad bucks.

    I really believe with Craig having access to Hollywood in his backyard, World Wide Pants played a major part in halting premium A-listers from being in heavy rotation so Dave could get first play.

  23. Craig has given me smiles when life has had a lot of sadness. Love watching you dance with Secretariat…then being a gracious host, quick witted and clever. You are all class with fun comedy that is not seen much anymore. I will miss you late nights when I need some laughter& smiles…
    Perhaps just an intermission, I sure hope so.:)

  24. I’m saddened over this news. He’s so different n open than other talk show hosts. He has no limits as to his subjects. He cracks me up w his faces, jokes, characters n stars. He’s really different and humble and caring all at the damr time. I’ll mids him & hope something good is putin his time slot.

    • Well now we all know what the final dollar is all about (stupidity) and we all suffer for it now I hope CBS pays for it. Gonna miss you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. I am great fan of all the qualities you have all mentioned, who suffered a great loss and this Scot and Stephen Colbert were the only ones who could make me laugh. I couldn’t help but notice, especially in one of Craig’s interviews asking if he would be sad on his last show, he responded with something about his fans “we are going in different directions.” I know that what makes Craig, Craig is his rebellious nature, and perhaps sadly at the end this fan sees the downside. Why not have all the Scots, the Brits, Laurie, etc, a musical number with the puppets and leave those who put him in the position he is in with that kind of memory? Probably, and said with no malice, because that’s what we wanted.Craig, He should have (uh oh, he hates that) at least taped his last show on Friday. I’ve never seen anyone do go off air like this and it’s puzzling. I feel like he’s forgotten a bit of himself. Why should fans miss out on one last night of craziness and maybe a little gratitude because CBS treated him so very badly? Even Jimmy Fallon in same time slot had huge budget and rights to any and all songs. When Craig was “allowed” use of songs he made us laugh our %%% off and you could see his joy. CBS has been number one for first time since 70′s, shame for such greed and cheapness and shoddy treatment of a one of a kind human being and talent. By the way for most, loved Colbert’s sendoff.

    • Replying to myself! Only forum I can speak of CF without ludicrous googlebot. GLEEFULLY PUNKED BY CF. SO DAMN FUNNY, TALENTED, WILL MISS HIM AT BREAKFAST. WHAT A HOT OPEN. In fact he had so much fun with the music he said “I think I’d have stayed if I’d done more of that.” Proves my idea that if CBS had given him a song budget he’d have had more fun, and so would we. I think we all noticed his insane joy when he did his musical numbers. Read an NPR article that said he tried something “that never quite came to fruition.” If his open on his last show is not a talent at the top of his form and his unique crazy joy, I don’t know what is. Hope CBS doesn’t erase him off the internet. Haters, please focus on CBS taking him from us, on CBS generally–utter greed. Now we have to pay to watch their commercial packed shows. Will miss this pioneer.

  26. It’s a sad day today because Craig Ferguson is gone. We all have favorite everything.Craig with his unique humor had heart.By faith Craig will pursue the desireS of his heart.

    • I missed his last show. What day was that? I am not enjoying his replacement.

  27. So sorry to see you go. :-). Drew Cary is not the replacement for you. I’ll turn off the tv now, good night. :-(

    • I think Lots of folks have done the same thing & are shutting them off including me. I noticed “The View” running in his time slot. Way to go CBSh*ts for letting a talent like Craig get away. But The View? Now your just flaunting your stupidity. Use to if I’s awake at 9:30 or 10:30pm even, I’d think to myself “hmmm, I might as well stay up to watch Craig & Geoff”. And I ALWAYS got many laughs & felt better all around after. Now if it’s 8 or 9pm I think “Well hell, might as well shut the idiot box off & go to sleep”. I’d rather watch the old Get Smart, or even original 60′s Batman than the view. Folks that’s desperate. CBS, You Blew It.

  28. 10 for Asian! 20 for Asian!

  29. Bring Craig Ferguson I turn off or change the channel. .sad day