EXCLUSIVE: James Corden is preparing to say his goodbyes to The Late Late Show.
The Brit has extended his contract for the CBS late-night series for one year and will depart ahead of summer 2023.
Corden will have hosted The Late Late Show for eight and a half years by the time he departures – a major achievement.
“It’s been it’s a really hard decision to leave because I’m so immensely proud of the show. I’m thrilled to be extending [for a year],” Corden told Deadline. “I always thought I’d do it for five years and then leave and then I stayed on. I’ve really been thinking about it for a long time, thinking whether there might be one more adventure.”
Corden signed a contract to host The Late Late Show, which had been previously hosted by Ferguson, in 2014 and premiered on March 23 2015.
Tea Gavin & Stacey co-creator was somewhat of a surprise choice but he reinvigorated the 12:30pm timeslot on CBS and breathed new life into late-night with viral segments such as Carpool Karaoke, Drop The Mic, Spill Your Guts and Crosswalk Musical.
In fact, Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Adele has been watched more than 250M times on YouTube, while his journey with One Direction has racked up 189M views. The Late Late Show YouTube page itself has had nearly 10B views and has over 27M subscribers, the second highest in late-night.
CBS chiefs, including President and CEO George Cheeks, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl, SEVP Programming Thom Sherman and Nick Bernstein, SVP, Late-Night Programming, West Coast, were keen to keep Corden and offered a variety of deals including a three-year extension, a two-year extension and a rolling one-year deal before he made his decision. “My bosses here at CBS have been incredibly supportive and extraordinarily patient with me while I made this decision,” Corden added.
“Seven years ago, James Corden came to the US and took television by storm, with huge creative and comedic swings that resonated in a big way with viewers on-air and online. From Crosswalk the Musical to the legendary Carpool Karaoke, and every unique comedy segment he introduced, James has truly reimagined many elements of the late night format. He has also been the consummate network showman, entertaining audiences from his nightly perch at Television City as well as the Tony and Grammy stage,” said Cheeks. “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. 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.”
Corden’s move marks the second high-profile change in late-night over the last 12 months after a relatively stable few years. Conan O’Brien recently left the space after a long career behind the desk and Jimmy Kimmel’s future is also uncertain with the comedian publicly discussing whether or not he will continue to host his ABC show.
CBS will also have to work out what they do after Corden and how they will replace him.
There’s been much speculation over the last few years whether Corden would exit The Late Late Show and return to the UK. But Corden told Deadline that he and his family “genuinely don’t know the answer to that”.
“It’s something we think about and we talk about a lot but we haven’t really made a decision on that yet. That’s the life side of things which we’ll figure out,” he added. “I love living here. I love everything it’s given. My family and I have never taken this incredible adventure for granted. Every day I drive down Sunset to work and I just think I’m from High Wycombe.”
Corden has always been an anomaly in late-night, starring in films such as Peter Rabbit, Cats and The Prom, where he received his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, and hosting HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion, while he was hosting a nightly talkshow. He is also a partner in Fulwell 73, the production company responsible for Hulu’s The Kardashians and Camila Cabello’s Cinderella and stars alongside Sally Hawkins in Amazon’s upcoming comedy drama series Mammals.
“There’s still some other things that I feel I want to do. I’d like to try and write. There’s some [stories] I’d like to tell. I’d like to see if I’m capable of it. The fact that it’s terrifying is the reason to do it,” he added.
But first, he’s got 200 more shows to go, which will take him to around 1250 since he started. Having told his staff this afternoon, Corden wanted to give his entire team a good amount of notice so that the move wasn’t a surprise.
Produced by CBS Studios and Fulwell 73, and exec produced by Rob Crabbe and Ben Winston, Corden called The Late Late Show the “most joyful working environment”.
“Out of respect for all of the [staff]. I want to tell them that now and say that we can really go into this last year with absolute enthusiasm and passion and love. These shows are not built by one person. I’m very fortunate I get to work with some people whose talents and gifts just blow my mind,” he said.
The extension also means that he’ll get to spend some time on the putting green with his friend Mark Noble, captain of his beloved West Ham United, who is retiring at the end of this season. “He’s the happiest that I’m not leaving in September because he’s desperate to get out and play some golf,” Corden laughs. “I’ll have been here for eight and a half years, he’s been at that club since he was nine. Nothing makes me happier to be thought of in the same breath as Mark Noble but I would be undeserving of such praise.”
Now, Corden and his team have to try and top their entrance – where Corden persuaded Tom Hanks to do a career retrospective with him in his opening episode, which also featured appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock and Meryl Streep.
“I’ll miss the adrenaline of thinking ‘Next week I’m going to jump out of a plane with Tom Cruise or in two weeks’ time, we’re going to drive around the White House in a car with Michelle Obama or sing Penny Lane with Paul McCartney driving down Penny Lane,” he said.
“All of my greatest ambitions for what it what [the show] could be, it’s absolutely surpassed all of them,” he added. “My intention is to try and go out in exactly the same way we came in, which is just going out with a with a bang.