‘Late Late Show’ To Replace Craig Ferguson with James Corden

Published 9 months ago by , Updated August 5th, 2014 at 8:16 pm,

james corden bbc Late Late Show To Replace Craig Ferguson with James Corden

There is a possibility that you do not recognize James Corden’s picture or his name. There’s also a possibility that, while looking at his picture, you are feeling a sense of disappointment over the rumor that the UK actor will likely replace Craig Ferguson as the host of The Late Late Show, because once again a network chose a white male to anchor one of these much discussed and coveted late night hosting slots, eschewing the chance to add a bit of diversity to late night.

There are people who will say that CBS didn’t even add “a name” like they did when they picked Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman and that Corden hasn’t paid his dues like Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers did. No one will say that it’s his  “turn” when they talk about this choice, but none of this is James Corden’s fault and it’s unfair to judge him against past splashy choices and the long list of theoretical candidates that CBS may or may not have considered for this job; especially since we don’t know who was actually interested in the job (save for Norm Macdonald, which could have been weird and majestic), or what made Corden the right choice – and what CBS was looking for in the first place.

Two weeks ago, CBS Entertainment chair Nina Tassler hinted that they might not even go with a traditional late night series to replace Craig Ferguson, gently floating the possibility of a political series. So when we remember that and realize that, despite Ferguson’s critical success and his cult following, The Late Late Show has been a consistent under-performer that has been badly beaten by NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers in the ratings, the picture becomes clearer.

late night seth meyers desk Late Late Show To Replace Craig Ferguson with James Corden

With the success and youth of Meyers’ show and the dominance shown by his Tonight Show lead-in, CBS had three choices in front of them. They could engage in an arms race with NBC by hiring a big name host and committing a lot of resources to a timeslot that has barely outdrawn Last Call with Carson Daly lately; run away from late night comedy at 12:35 entirely; or go with a somewhat lesser known talent that would cost them less – giving the network ample flexibility for the future after years of ceding control of the 12:35 timeslot to David Letterman’s company. The latter choice seems to match up with the James Corden rumor, and it also makes the most sense. CBS made their splashy late night hire when they chose Colbert, a host who can slug it out with Fallon on a regular basis – and if we’ve learned anything from NBC’s recent twin late night success, it’s that lead-ins matter a great deal.

Seth Meyers’ Late Night isn’t terrible, it’s just a bit bland and devoid of the independent and experimental spirit exhibited by the versions of Late Night that preceded it. As a devout fan of those shows (and a big admirer of the work that Ferguson has done), Meyers has not impressed me with anything but his ability to hold onto a decent chunk of Fallon’s audience. Take that away and that show is incredibly vulnerable. It’s a shame that Ferguson won’t have the chance to feast on that vulnerability should Colbert take the crown from Fallon’s head, but there is something to be said for a fresh start. While there are people that adore Ferguson, there are also those who might feel left out by the clubhouse feel of his show, and so they might have been lost to CBS. Corden comes in with a clean slate.

james corden the wrong mans Late Late Show To Replace Craig Ferguson with James Corden

I don’t want to make it seem as though that’s all that James Corden brings to the table, though. This is a supremely talented comic actor (a Tony-winning stage actor at that) and a gifted writer, who is about to break out with a key role in Disney’s Into the Woods. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ve seen Corden make two appearances during the Matt Smith era as Craig, a somewhat bumbly but ultimately heroic everyman. Others may know him from his six episode Hulu/BBC co-production, The Wrong Mans, or as the co-creator and co-writer of Gavin and Stacey, which he also co-starred in. He’s not a stand-up, though he’s dabbled, but he does come across as personable and quick during chat show appearances and in various comedy sketches. As such, we can forecast that those skills will translate to this new role, even if we have no idea what this version of The Late Late Show will look like – and that’s a bit exciting.

We didn’t know that Craig Ferguson would one day lead a late night show that was gleefully indifferent to the rules of the form and the behavior of its contemporaries. The same can be said of Conan O’Brien and David Letterman when they first debuted their 12:35 shows. That’s what that hour has historically been, a place for late night comedy to experiment and grow. Trends that shape the earlier shows start there, but networks have to be willing to let that process occur. Without the big name and the unrealistically high expectations that come with that, Corden’s debut will slip under the radar a little bit and it is possible that CBS will do just that.

james corden into woods musical movie Late Late Show To Replace Craig Ferguson with James Corden

James Corden will create his show and it will be good, bad, or a little bit of both; he’ll either give Meyers a run for his money thanks largely to the Colbert bump, or people will be cool to it and he’ll be replaced after a time. That sounds horrible and stressful, but it’s the same batch of circumstances that brought Ferguson’s Late Late Show and both Letterman and Conan’s Late Night shows into maturity. James Corden has everything to gain and a lot of talent. This is his chance to truly break out in the US, and so he may as well die with his boots on and do “his” show – be it weird or in another way unique – and not something generic or a version of Ferguson’s show.

Is this choice historic or a win for fans of diversity? No, but it could wind up being a win for comedic diversity if Corden uses this perceived freedom to create something that stands out, at least; as late night has become more and more homogenized (we give full credit to Fallon for his mastery of next-day viral videos, but the meat and potatoes of his show and its tone aren’t all that unique) we will take that potential win and celebrate it. Also, we really hope he keeps Geoff and the horse, or that they get their own spinoff called Geoff and the Horse.

Stay tuned to Screen Rant for future news on The Late Late Show.

Source: The Wrap

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. I wonder if there will be outrage this time around or if the outrage click has moved onto a different topic de jour?

    • “Click” as in the noise/function of a computer’s mouse or “clique” as in a group of like-minded individuals?

      Anyway, personally speaking, I’ve never seen the show since we don’t get it in the UK but if it keeps Corden busy and off British screens for some time then that’s a bonus. Genuinely find him annoying.

      • clique, thanks for correcting me Dazz. There are few people who would take their time to do so on such an an important distinction here on SR.

  2. Dont know much about him but he could work.Interested on seing what he brings to the show though he has some big shoes to fill.Craig has been my favorite out of all the late night shows but hopefully this guy can pull it off im defenitely interested now on seeing how it turns out.

  3. Loved him on Dr Who, but i dont know if hes the right fit….I also love me some Craig Ferg, so it might be my dislike of him leaving clouding my judgement.

  4. I saw him in “Begin Again” and he was really good and really funny in that movie.
    he was also really good in doctor who so I have complete faith that he’ll be great.

  5. A left-field choice. Took everybody by surprise. Let’s see how the show’s ratings are, after he takes over the show.

  6. Are you kidding me i’m from the Uk i don’t understand why they keep rewarding this fat spoilt talentless manchild now he gets a US talk show? Of all the greatly talented people and Comics in the UK america is interested in this guy for their movies,Award shows and talk shows.

    • Didn’t Patrick Stewart threaten to kick his a– once?

  7. A league of their own is probably good if people like sports and want to see what he is like as a show host; albeit on a quiz show

    • Good suggestion. He obviously has experience hosting a show before a live audience. I am sure that was one reason they hired him. Another may be that he will be able to bring on guests from G.B. and Europe who might not otherwise do a late night who in the U.S.

      I wonder if he will film in N.Y.?

  8. How dare you! Your even handed, non reactionary, opinons boil my blood to degrees higher than my double digit limited IQ can handle!!

  9. Hey may be a great actor i cant speak from experience since ive never seen him in a movie……. And im not trying to say craig ferguson is hilarious because he is not!!! But i youtubed this guy and hes not funny at all! At least craig ferguson has made me laugh before! This guy doesnt seem to fit the gig at all! Not saying he sucks…. Just saying maybe a poor choice! I could be wrong!

    • We best shut up then eh…seems as you did a youtube search

  10. Craig Ferguson is the best interviewer on late night TV, hands down.

    I know nothing about this replacement host but I’m fairly certain I won’t be tuning into the Late, Late Show once Ferguson has left.

  11. Can TBS pair Ferguson with Conan now? I think that would be a great late night combo.

  12. If I were Corden I would not take the job. As a Brit, he would be taken a huge standard dive when it comes to TV by working in the U.S. It would be a monumental mistake.

  13. In my opinion that wouldnt work! I can see why craig ferguson is loved by so many people! In my opinion his humor is a kind of dry wit. And alot of people love that hey different strokes right? But i cant see him with conan! In my eyes they are totally different in their comedy styles! Which i think would clash! Conan is also very witty but in a complete opposite way! He is very out going and silly! Which works for me….. Alot! I do respect your opinion! In mine however it wouldnt work!

    • Ferguson’s past comments on his show about what he’s going to do next and why he left when he did seem to indicate that he won’t do another late night show. He also made it very clear that this was his choice, so while some may not agree with Corden’s selection, they shouldn’t look at this as if he is pushing Ferguson out.

  14. I love Craig’s show and he is going to be sorely missed. How anyone can watch that boring Seth Meyers show is beyond me (and I am a Seth Meyers fan from SNL). I’m not sure that this new guy will be a good replacement, but he is filling some very large shoes, IMO.

  15. Too bad cause I really enjoy watching Craig Ferguson.
    btw this new guy looks like MMPR Bulk´s´s twin.

  16. This will fail.

  17. Jason Tabrys, I’m not entirely sure of what else I have read of your’s, but this article is quite good, I think. I enjoyed it and I hope to read more of your writing on this site.
    Also, in regards to the actual story, I am intrigued by the choice and bummed out that it will be more of the same. I think it could be good, with that said.

    • Thanks! Hopefully it won’t be more of the same (in terms of what is on-screen), but I like that we don’t really have a read on what his show will be. I’m also very glad that CBS didn’t punt the timeslot or fill the hour with some kind of news or political program.

      • I’m sorry that they didn’t drop the LLS.

        A political show would have tied in with Colbert.

        A syndicated show would have made everyone money.

        A syndicated Big Bang Theory would have made money for the BBT cast and maybe gone along way to get the BBT cast back to shooting the new season.

        A ShamWow infomercial would have been the best meta joke for the LLS possible.
        And it would be the best send off for a man who spent the last 10 years of his professional life giving the late night format the bird.

        This guy?

        He’s just stupid.


  18. The whole thing with Craig is he’s been there, done that, and was very luck to get out alive!

    Also as a result of spending a lot of time, as a young adult, in the US and the fact he is now a proud citizen, makes it easier for the audience to relate to. He can discuss places/clubs coz he’s lived there and worked there/drunk there! It’s also less patronising if he mocks the US, as he does genuinely love the country and the opportunities it has brought him. It makes it easier for people to accept his comments, as he is now an insider, as opposed to the likes of Piers Morgan (who in fairness no one likes!) who is an outsider trying to tell you how to live.

    It’s left him jaded with “Celebrity”, which as a result makes for some compulsive viewing (Stephen Fry’s is still one of the best) when the guests “get him” and some car wrecks when people come on to plug something, having no idea what they’re getting into.

    And for a real taste of his attitude to attacking people, youtube his episode where he talks about Britney Spear’s meltdown and his outright refusal to knock/mock her during the lowest part of her life. He wasn’t going to pander just for ratings/cheap laughs as she was vulnerable and a victim of “Celebrity”!

    As much as I like James Corden’s persona, I think he’ll be too easily impressed by perceived status to be effective and will instead become another throw away advertising machine.

    • The Stephen Fry episode may be one of my all time favorite late night episodes. A perfect example of why Ferguson was and is a special host. I would have loved to see a more interview driven chat show as a replacement, honestly.

    • I find it funny with Piers Morgan.

      Nobody in the UK likes him because he’s a slimy, sleazy looking former newspaper editor who openly admitted to hacking celebrity phones for gossip to print as news stories.

      He then goes to the US, openly mocks and criticises the gun policies over there and that’s the one thing that Brits agree with while Americans condemn him and form petitions to get him deported over his opinion on gun laws.

      You can really tell what Corden’s like though by watching his Comic Relief stuff and the interview/documentary he made about and with Gary Barlow, charting his career from clubs to Take That to his more recent solo stuff/Take That reunion/X Factor judging. He enjoys being around celebrities and gently mocking them in a friendly way and definitely won’t rock the boat with US viewers.

  19. Easily the most overrated ‘celeb’ in the UK. I find it hard to believe he gets the credit and attention that he does… It simply dumbfounds me.

    • I agree with you, I also just do not get all the love for this guy, not edgy enough, or satirical or remotely funny. Talking of Brits doing chats shows/news show, John Oliver’s show is pretty good though.

      • Weird thing is, I read that Graham Norton’s struggled in the US before because the American audiences just don’t “get” his sense of humour, which is odd because he’s a sarcastic host with a dry wit and that’s pretty much what most US talk show hosts are like from my experience watching them.

  20. For those Americans who don’t know who james corden is. He’s is not funny and completely talentless. At least were doing a piers morgan and send the people we don’t like over to you guys

  21. OK im english and I really don’t understand the appeal of these shows. Whys it always some white guy in a suit doing interviews and then some weird segment, and why do they always emphasize that the show is on at night? Seriously, its like 10 different not that great talk shows all playing at the same time every night wtf is the point?

  22. James Cordon will be a fantastic host, it seems like a lot of people are bashing him already and he barely has the job 24 hours. Give the man a chance and then judge him. Everything I’ve seen him in has been hilarious and he’s a fantastic host on A League Of Their Own albeit a quiz show. But we all have to start somewhere. If people give him a chance and tune in once or twice they may warm to him.

  23. Late nite sidekicks are so very annoying.a lite up bone mass, not funny. Jeff is what changed the channel. I could say the same for jimmy Kimmels, side kick. Not funny, just irritating .

    • Whoa! Whoa! WHOA! You got a problem with Guillermo? He hardly ever says anything. Not used enough to even be irritating.

      Now, Cousin Sal, I could do without…

  24. I guess I can stop wishing for “The Late Late Show with Joel McHale” and let another dream die…I’ll make the most of what little time Craigy has left and enjoy him to the end!

  25. Chris Hardwick, man. Should’ve been Chris Hardwick.

    • Agree.

      Chris Hardwick should have been the front runner on this.

      Either that? Or?

      Sham Wow commercials.

  26. After Craig leaves………… I’m out.

  27. My honest opine of all this: Late Night TV is really a waste land of entertainment anyway. Except for stars promoting movies the whole genre is unappealing. It’s just a cheap way to fill network time until local stations run Matlock for the billionth time.

    Craig Ferguson will always be Drew Carey’s boss. That’s the only reason I ever heard of him. Letterman should have hung it up ages ago. He only held on to outlast Leno and get the last laugh. Leno was nothing more than a network “yes man”. Not too sharp and trusted his handlers way too much. Conan lost his appeal with his fall to cable. Face it, he CAN do more on cable, it doesn’t mean he SHOULD do more. Part of what made me like him on NBC was his humorous ways of skirting around the censors and network policies. He made a game of restraint and really owned it. Jimmy Fallon is just okay. Why watch his show when his best stuff ends up on Youtube anyway? His “Brian Williams raps” is the best sh,er, stuff out there. Seth Meyers? What? Why? ugh… Jimmy Kimmel is okay, but even his interviews come of as awkward and forced at times. I’ve never heard of %90 of his musical acts. Arsenio was good the second time around. It seemed like he was just a tribute to the year 1990 at times. It was a nice flashback but I didn’t see him do a whole lot different this time around. Was he funny? Yes. Pity he didn’t get to do the second season he WAS RENEWED for. Still baffled…