Ferguson to leave CBS’ ‘Late Late Show’
The late-night landscape continues its upheaval.
During Monday’s taping of CBS’ The Late Late Show, host Craig Ferguson told his studio audience that he will be leaving the talk show (12:37 a.m. ET/PT) in December.
“CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much,” Ferguson said in a statement.
No successor has been named for Ferguson, 51, who took over the show in January 2005.
Ferguson’s announcement comes just weeks after David Letterman, whose Late Showprecedes The Late Late Show on CBS, told viewers that he plans to retire next year. Letterman’s Worldwide Pants produces Ferguson’s show, and he was contractually promised Letterman’s chair when he retired.
But a week after Letterman’s April 3 announcement, CBS hired Stephen Colbert, who now anchors Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, to replace him. Ferguson was not considered a candidate for the opening. His contract is up this year.
Colbert will go up against NBC’s The Tonight Show, where Jimmy Fallon succeeded longtime host Jay Leno in February, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. On Sunday, John Oliver, who filled in for Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show last summer, premiered his new HBO late-night show, Last Week Tonight. CBS last summer approached Oliver about taking Ferguson’s slot, before he signed with HBO.
Before The Late Late Show, Ferguson, a Scottish actor and writer, was best known to American audiences for playing Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show. For an April Fools’ Day joke, he and Carey, who hosts CBS’ The Price Is Right, traded hosting duties on April 1.
Ferguson, who was joined on the show by sidekicks Geoff the robot skeleton and Secretariat the fake horse, took the show to Paris and his native Scotland. The Late Late Show won a Peabody Award in 2010 for Ferguson’s interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Ferguson is working on several projects, including hosting a syndicated game show,Celebrity Name Game, that is scheduled to premiere in the fall.
“During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30,” CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.
She added: “While we’ll miss Craig and can’t thank him enough for his contributions to both the show and the network, we respect his decision to move on, and we look forward to celebrating his final broadcasts during the next eight months.”