The late-night comic, who has been at the helm of CBS’ “Late Late Show” since mid-2015, has extended his contract with CBS until the Spring of 2023, after which he will leave. The host is expected to discuss his decision on Thursday’s broadcast of the program.
“In my two years at CBS, I’ve had the privilege to see James’ creative genius up close and experience his valuable partnership with CBS, both as a performer and a producer,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS, in a statement. “We wish he could stay longer, but we are very proud he made CBS his American home and that this partnership will extend one more season on ‘The Late Late Show.’”
The host of CBS “Late Late Show” tends to switch out more frequently than the comedian who leads the network’s 11:30 p.m. hour, largely because their chances of moving up to the earlier hour are typically slim. Both Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson lead the “Late Late Show” during David Letterman’s tenure at CBS, but neither had an opportunity to even be considered for the 11:30 time slot. Indeed, Ferguson was still holding down the 12:30 a.m. hour in 2014 when CBS announced it would hand over Letterman’s reins to Stephen Colbert. Ferguson departed at the end of the year, giving CBS time to use the countdown to Letterman’s retirement to feed into Corden’s opening days.
Corden was largely unknown to U.S. audiences when he joined TV’s late-night fray, but blazed his own path at “Late Late Show,” working in tandem with executive producers Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe to develop segments like “Carpool Karaoke,” “Drop The Mic,” and “Crosswalk The Musical.” The “Late Late Show” team kept an eye on the popularity of different segments on social media, and on occasion would spin those concepts off into separate programs, helping to buoy revenues for CBS. They also reworked many of the elements of the show, installing an on-stage bar, calling all the guests to come on stage at once, and relying on the offbeat musical charms of bandleader Reggie Watts. Corden also brought sizable talents in singing and acting, and often took breaks to appear in movies or host CBS’ Tony Awards broadcast.
CBS will have a year to find a replacement, but there are already several potential choices in-house, including Trevor Noah at sister cable outlet Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” or Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, who recently hosted a fourth season of their program, which runs less frequently, on Showtime.
But Corden’s departure comes amid a retrenchment in late night. The shows aren’t pulling in the live linear audiences they once did, with many one time night owls choosing to watch segments on YouTube the morning after they air on TV. In recent months, Conan O’Brien ended his late-night tenure on TBS and Comedy Central, which once featured three programs around midnight, has cut its offerings back to one, an expanded “Daily.”