In the beginning of August, rumors were circulated that British actor James Corden would be stepping in for talk show host Craig Ferguson when he departs from The Late Late Show at the end of the year. While CBS declined to comment at the time, the network has now confirmed that Corden will indeed be filling Ferguson’s chair, thus preserving the white male domination that is the bread-and-butter of late night talk shows. This is the final announcement in the shake-up of CBS late night TV that has also seen David Letterman announce his retirement and Stephen Colbert named as his replacement. (Larry Wilmore, meanwhile, will take over Colbert’s old Comedy Central slot with a new show called The Minority Report).
At this point, Corden is still relatively unknown in the U.S.—much as Ferguson was when he took over The Late Late Show almost 10 years ago. Brits and Anglophiles will recognize Corden from his breakout role in the 2007 sitcom Gavin & Stacey, a show he co-created and co-wrote. From there Corden made a name for himself in the theatrical world, rounding out the ensemble of The History Boys and earning a Tony Award for his performance in the farce One Man, Two Guvnors. Corden has also played small roles in the film adaptation of The History Boys and the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo indie Being Again, and appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who. He’s also set to star as the Baker in the much anticipated film adaptation of Into The Woods. Corden is no stranger to hosting gigs, sketch comedy, British comedy panel shows, and even hit singles (he’s featured on the 2010 UK chart topper “Shout For England”) all of which CBS is likely hoping will allow his iteration of The Late Late show to find the kind of viral success that revitalized NBC’s late night game.
In a statement, CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler explained, “James Corden is a rare entertainment force who combines irresistible charm, warmth and originality with a diverse range of creative instincts and performance talent. 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.”
In his own statement Corden said, “I can’t describe how thrilled and honored I am to be taking over from the brilliant Craig Ferguson. To be asked to host such a prestigious show on America’s No. 1 network is hugely exciting. I can’t wait to get started, and will do my very best to make a show America will enjoy.”
Ferguson—who already has a new talk show project in the works—tweeted out congratulations to his replacement: