Social stats have led CBS’ new-ish Late Late Show host James Corden and his exec producers to re-think the summer, between David Letterman’s final Late Show broadcast this week and Stephen Colbert’s Late Show debut in the fall. At a CBS Summer Press Day 2015, Corden’s exec producer Ben Winston boasted more than a dozen clips from the broadcasts shot to date have clocked “well over a million views,” adding, “that’s changing things for us in the way we think.”
Originally he said, they intended to “throw everything” into the show before Letterman’s exit, then get through the “tricky” summer lull before Colbert debuted as their lead-in. “Our mentality has changed,” he said. “Our ambition hasn’t abated post next week, he said. “We have great summer plans.”
One reporter marveled they were able to book One Direction on the show. Corden explained, patiently, that Winston, a former X Factor EP in UK, has produced many of the group’s music videos, adding he personally had known Louis Tomlinson since before One Direction was a gleam in anyone’s eye, because Tomlinson’s mother was a “chaperone” on a show he did in 2002.
A Japanese reporter asked Corden to comment on Late Show’s upcoming debut in her country. “We very much always tried to make the show for a Japanese audience. It’s never far from our minds,” Corden joked, saying he’d lost track of the times they threw out a bit because they decided it wouldn’t play in Japan.
An Australian reporter asked Corden to comment on Late Show’s upcoming debut in his country. “The truth is, we have always tried to make the show for an Australian audience…,” he began, then giggled.
One reporter wondered how in the world they came up with the idea of having two guests on the couch — at the same time.
Resisting the urge to clonk the reporter on the head, or suggest they do some homework before coming to an interview, Corden, a Brit, replied, still patiently, “It’s only different to you guys…It’s not, where we grew up…It happens all the time — we never thought it was that big a thing.” Winston, also a Brit, added that it was a way for the show to distinguish itself from the plethora of late night talk shows in this country, which tend to interview guests individually, creating an “us versus them” environment. That format did “not necessarily go with the mentality we’re trying to create,” he said.
Because Wednesday is Letterman’s last night hosting Late Show, Corden was asked to comment on the man and his career and what he’s meant to Corden. “I didn’t grow up here and David Letterman wasn’t on in Britain,” began Corden, who really deserves some kind of Medal For Extraordinary Patience for getting through this Q&A without even throwing his water bottle at someone. His memory of Letterman is mostly from when he, Corden, was in a Broadway production The History Boys. Having already been away from home 15 months on tour when the play made its Broadway debut, Corden explained how lonely it was going back to his apartment at night and not being able to phone his family. Discovering Letterman’s show gave him something to look forward to at night, he explained. When Corden was named host of Letterman’s lead-out show, “I sent him an email…asking if we could do an interview with him in his theater.” Letterman sent back, “the kindest email… he said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I’m not going to do the interview. I think people are sick of hearing from me.”