Late night entertainer James Corden informed CBS that this will be his final year as the host of The Late Late Show. Corden signed a new contract that will allow him to depart the program in the summer of 2023.
“When I started this journey, it was always going to be just that. It was going to be a journey, an adventure. I never saw it as my final destination,” Corden said on his show Thursday night. “I never want this show to overstay its welcome in any way. I always want to love making it.”
Here’s his announcement:
CBS named Corden The Late Late Show presenter in 2015 after trying out a series of guest hosts following the departure of Craig Ferguson in 2014.
But who will replace Corden? There isn’t an obvious choice, or even a strong option.
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith says he is pushing for his own late-night show — in addition to his roles at ESPN — and is getting reps filling in for Jimmy Kimmel and appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
However, while Smith could intrigue CBS, ESPN parent company Disney would have to sign off on the deal. And if Smith does have a future in late-night, Disney could consider him for late-night on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel’s contract expiring this year. Kimmel told Howard Stern last September he doesn’t know whether he will continue beyond this year.
If not Smith, Chelsea Handler is a name to watch. Social media is already pressuring CBS to replace Corden with a woman, and she is the pick among Twitter users.
For Corden, he indicated that he did not have a specific job in place post-late night, saying: “I really think in a year from now, that will be a good time to move on and see what else might be out there.”
Corden should receive interest from the many streaming services that are investing in talk programming. And a streaming program would only require Corden to host once a week, à la Jon Stewart on AppleTV+ and Conan O’Brien’s plans with HBO Max.
“Seven years ago, James Corden came to the U.S. and took television by storm, with huge creative and comedic swings that resonated in a big way with viewers on-air and online,” said CBS President and CEO George Cheeks.
I don’t know that Corden took anything by storm, but he will have options after the Late Late Show.