Despite one late-night pundit’s crack that they’d be shocked if CBS went with another white male Brit to host its Late Late Show, it appears the network has done just that. CBS has lassoed James Corden to replace Craig Ferguson when Ferguson steps down at the end of the year, according to informed sources.
“Corden?” you respond. Glad you asked. Corden was co-creator, co-writer and star of BBC comedy hit Gavin & Stacey, for which he won a BAFTA. He also appeared in Doctor Who and was the lead in the comedy play One Man, Two Guvnors, which emigrated from the National Theatre to Broadway, winning him a 2012 Tony Award for best actor. Not coincidentally, the Tonys are broadcast by CBS. But Corden also has TV hosting experience; in 2010 he began as host of the Sky1 comedy/sports panel show A League Of Their Own. He next will be seen starring as Paul Potts in the biopic One Chance for the Weinstein Company; he’s also slated to appear in Disney’s musical, Into The Woods.
To give you some vague idea as to Corden’s talk-show talent — here he is guesting on BBC One’s The Michael McIntyre Chat Show:
Onstage, Corden also had been in talks to star in the Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum in the works for next spring. Plans are for him to play Pseudolus, the part created by Zero Mostel (who also starred in the 1966 film), played in subsequent revivals by Phil Silvers and, most recently, by Nathan Lane in 1996. Broadway sources confirm to Deadline that the production could be put on hold for a season, depending on Corden’s availability. “Plans for the Spring 2015 Broadway production of A Funny Thing Happen on the Way to the Forum continue,” a spokesman for the producers and director Alex Timbers told Deadline this afternoon, adding, “The star, additional casting, theatre, and dates will be announced in the near future.”
CBS declined comment on the development, first reported by The Wrap.
In April, CBS went down one more late-night host, when Ferguson announced to his studio audience that he would not be re-upping his contract to host Late Late Show and would step down in December. “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much,” Ferguson said in the announcement, which immediately triggered speculation as to who would replace him.
With Ferguson leaving in December, it was considered likely that CBS would have a new 12:35 AM host on its air before Stephen Colbert replaces David Letterman — Colbert is likewise leaving his Comedy Central series The Colbert Report at the end of the calendar year, but Letterman has yet to set his end date for Late Show — only saying it will be some time in 2015, though most money’s on a May bow-out.
Ferguson has been Late Late Show’s host since succeeding Craig Kilborn in January 2005. His exit announcement did not come as a total surprise, since CBS had decided to go with Colbert after Dave also surprised his studio audience with news he was stepping down next year. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning that news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout-out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial.
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