CBS Eyes Reboot of ‘@midnight’ to Replace ’The Late Late Show With James Corden’

CBS wants to cut back on late-night talk and play up the games in the wee hours of the morning.

CBS is expected to replace its long-running “Late Late Show” after a 28-year run with a reboot of the Comedy Central game show “@midnight,” according to a person familiar with the matter, in a maneuver that would cut costs and also revive a programming concept controlled by the network’s’ parent company, Paramount Global.

A CBS spokesman declined to comment on the network’s plans. Deadline previously reported on the decision.

The programming concept would cut back CBS’ post-“Late Show” slot to just half an hour, which another person familiar with the business of late-night suggested would eliminate tens of millions of dollars in production costs. The network is looking at its late-night schedule in an era when more fans of the shows are watching them via social-media clips and digital extensions, and the field of players is significantly larger than it was when David Letterman and Jay Leno held sway.

CBS had been considering as many as five different concepts with which it could replace Corden’s show, according to a third person familiar with recent discussions. Among those who were pitching CBS ideas were Fulwell73, the production company behind Corden’s program, and Ben Winston, one of Fulwell’s senior executives and a top producer at “Late Late Show.” Fulwell took itself out of the discussions when CBS plans for a production budget became better known. according to one of the people familiar with the matter.

Chris Hardwick, the original host of “@midnight,” is not believed to be in the running to host the new edition, according to one of the people familiar with discussions. CBS is said to prefer a female host, and is also pushing to make sure that talent in front of and behind the camera is diverse and hails from a range of backgrounds.

The choice of programming will certainly give insomniac viewers something new to see. In its four-year run on Comedy Central between 2013 and 2017, “@midnight” won notice for its fast pace and use of a rotating crew of comedians who would weigh in on trending social-media concepts and memes. The conversation in a single show might leap from the latest emoji from Apple to a tweet by Ted Nugent to YouTube videos of a rat hauling a piece of pizza and a squirrel drinking a milkshake.

More to come….