Addressing the elephant in the room at CBS’ Carpool Karaoke panel at TCA today, EP Ben Winston said, “We’re going to have 16 different hosts.” And from a sizzle reel, we see that Chelsea Handler, Seth MacFarlane, John Legend, Billy Eichner are among those set for the new series streaming on Apple Music, the portal’s first.
But what does this mean for the famed bit on The Late Late Show? Says host James Corden: “I’m still going to see my kid on the weekends. This just became a wonderful platform to see these people in a such an intimate environment. I don’t feel it’s mine.”
In regards to doing the Apple Music series sans Corden, EP Eric R. Pankowski said: “It was a pretty quick decision. What James does is so special and singular. It was silly to make a full TV series, to try to replicate that or duplicate that. We fell in love with doing 16 specials. Each one was its own event.”
Adds Winston, who’s also an EP on The Late Late Show: “On our show, it’s James with a massive-selling recording artist,” while the new Apple series essentially follows two pairings; an interview series over a half-hour (and, as footage shows, the pairs actually get out of the car). Winston said they were getting requests from movie stars to do Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show, but that never sounded quite right, hence the idea for this Apple Music series.
In terms of pairings, Corden will drive Will Smith around, while MacFarlane drives Ariana Grande and Alicia Keys will be in the passenger seat next to Legend. “There’s something about the intimacy of a car,” said Winston, who expounded that there’s something kinetic that happens between two people where they connect, more than they would in a studio.
Corden’s jumping-off point for Carpool Karaoke originated with late Wham! singer George Michael. Corden asked Michael to do the segment in England for a Comic Relief bit. Corden said today that he was asked to participate in a recent documentary celebrating Michael.