CBS has confirmed that James Corden will take over as host of The Late Late Show in 2015. The date of his first episode has not been announced.
The English-born Corden, 36, is a Tony Award-winning stage actor for his role in 2012’s One Man, Two Guvnors and a fixture of U.K. television, where he hosts Sky 1 sports game show A League of Their Own and stars in BBC comedy The Wrong Mans—also available on Hulu—which he produces and writes. He will replace Craig Ferguson, who announced in April that he would step down as host of The Late Late Show. Ferguson's run, which began in 2005, is scheduled to end in December.
“James Corden is a rare entertainment force who combines irresistible charm, warmth and originality with a diverse range of creative instincts and performance talent,” said CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler. “He is the ultimate multi-hyphenate—a writer, creator and performer who is loved and respected in every medium he touches, including theater, comedy, music, film and television.”
Corden's appointment as host of The Late Late Show may cap a period of change in late night television that has touched three of the Big Four broadcasters and extended to cable and even digital over-the-top networks. The shakeups began in August, 2012, when ABC announced that Jimmy Kimmel Live would move from midnight to 11:35 p.m. to compete directly with The Tonight Show at NBC and CBS' Late Show. The following year NBC announced that Jay Leno would leave—again—The Tonight Show desk and make way for Jimmy Fallon, whose role as Late Night host would pass to Seth Meyers.
The upheaval continued when, this April, David Letterman announced on air that he would depart Late Show, which he had hosted since it premiered in 1993. CBS moved quickly to hire Stephen Colbert as Letterman’s successor, creating a vacancy at Comedy Central, where The Colbert Report had long followed The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. That timeslot will be filled by Daily Show correspondent Larry Wilmore, whose new show The Minority Report is scheduled to premiere in 2015.
Colbert's hiring appeared to presage Ferguson's departure from CBS. Before Ferguson even announced that he would leave the network, speculation began regarding possible replacements for him at 12:30 a.m. CBS even went as far as to issue a statement to the website Vulture that there were “no discussions with Chelsea Handler regarding the network's 12:30 late night broadcast” after the comedian posted a photo of herself online holding paperwork bearing the CBS logo. Handler's E! late-night talker Chelsea Lately ended in August, two months after it was announced that she would begin hosting a late-night style show on digital service Netflix in 2016.
The Wrap first reported in early August that CBS had zeroed in on Corden as a replacement for Ferguson. The completion of that deal ensures that, for the foreseeable future, late-night broadcast television will continue to be dominated by hosts who are white and male. In an interview with Vulture last month, Meyers, asked about Corden's presumed hiring and the "relative sameness" of late night's hosts, congratulated Corden, but added, "I think that people have every right to be disappointed and voice that disappointment."
Tassler, speaking to B&C in April following the Colbert announcement, said, “As a broadcast network, you have to look at the diversity issue across the full spectrum of the schedule. I think you look at every one of our dayparts, and we have diversity across the entire schedule. Ultimately you make the decision about hiring the best person for the job, and we felt Stephen was that guy.”
The new Late Late Show will be produced by CBS. Producers and a location for the show have yet to be announced. Under previous hosts Tom Snyder, Craig Kilborn and Ferguson, The Late Late Show had been produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Inc. and shot in Los Angeles.