Craig Ferguson will end his run as host of CBS’ The Late Late Show in December. The comic announced the news to his studio audience Monday during a taping of the show.
Ferguson took over as host of the 12:30 a.m. late-night talker, which follows David Letterman’s Late Show, in 2005. He was one of several comics—including Michael Ian Black, D.L. Hughley, and Aisha Tyler—who competed for the job in a series of test shows that CBS aired following host Craig Kilborn’s departure.
The future of The Late Late Show has been the subject of speculation since David Letterman announced April 3 that he would step down as host of Late Show some time in 2015. CBS moved quickly to fill Letterman’s seat, naming Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report as the Late Show heir apparent—passing over Ferguson, whose contract was scheduled to expire next year and whose show is produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Inc.
Following the Colbert hire, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves told Bloomberg News that “12:30 is up in the air” and that “a woman would be great in late night.” Tyler, who co-hosts CBS’ The Talk and hosts sister network The CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway is one of several female comics who could be considered to replace Ferguson at a time when the late night landscape continues to be dominated by white, male hosts.
“During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30,” said CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler. “He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.”
Addressing the audience during his Monday broadcast, Ferguson said, “So I would ask you to understand that what's happening here, this is my decision to go. This is not Jay, Conan of NBC. This is not Dave and Jay all these years ago. It's not that. Now, you will read that in areas of the Internet where truth is of absolutely no interest, and you will read that in the informed entertainment press where the truth is of absolutely no interest but in bigger words. So what I have to tell you is this. It's my decision to leave.”