This will always be the year that David Letterman announced his retirement, paving the way for a million voices to cry out for a female replacement, the eventual instatement of Stephen Colbert as his successor and Chelsea Handler‘s attempt to make a Netflix talk show work. In the middle of all the keruffle, Craig Ferguson announced his own retirement from his own late night show, putting The Late Late Show into its own (albeit less splashy) flux. It was never quite clear what would become of Ferguson’s after-Letterman slot. Would CBS jettison the talk show format? Would they hire a woman? Would they just use it as a depository for old Letterman reruns? We just didn’t know!
Well, now we do — The Late Late Show is going to live on, with a new host that, let’s be honest, most Americans have probably never heard of. And, guess what, that’s not a bad thing.
The Wrap reports that James Corden will now take over Ferguson’s spot, keeping The Late Late Show a viable property for the network. Wait, who is James Cor– oh, calm down, we’ve got you.
Well, he was born in London. You can’t argue with facts.
Over at Vox, they call him the “British Jack Black,” which even they admit is pretty reductive. Yes, Corden can be big-talking and swaggy and weird, but he’s also very, very sweet. If you caught Begin Again earlier this year, Corden probably looks familiar — he played Keira Knightley’s sweet and weird best pal Steve, one of the true highlights of the film. He also co-created the beloved British sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which he co-starred in for three seasons.
He’s An Award-Winning Actor
Of stage and screen. Corden picked up a BAFTA for Gavin & Stacey, but he’s also got a Tony for his stage work in the show One Man, Two Guvnors. Corden originated the role of Timms in The History Boys, which he then played in the play’s subsequent film version. Corden’s stage experience should serve him well in a live, late night environment. It’s not like he’s a screen actor getting tossed into a big, unfamiliar bond. He knows live audiences and he knows how to please them.
He might also look familiar to audiences who have seen The Boat That Rocked, Gulliver’s Travels or Begin Again (the true-life story of Paul Potts). Corden will next appear in Into the Woods as The Baker.
He’s Also a Writer
Hi, Gavin & Stacey. (And, also, The Wrong Mans, a British crime comedy miniseries he wrote and starred in last year.)
He’s Hot on Twitter
Corden has a nice following on Twitter — 4.35M at the time of this writing, a number that will only go up — which could lend some young, hipness to the young, hip timeslot of 12:35AM. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go full @Midnight with this, our feeds are already clogged with those tweets every night.
He Used to Live With Dominic Cooper
This just seems like a fun fact, care of Wikipedia.
He Kissed Harry Styles Once
He’s Not Already a Star in America
Yes, you know this, but let’s think about this in a positive way. Although Corden is beloved and very well-known across the pond, his relative outsiderness when it comes to American culture might be a good thing. If nothing else, it does indicate that we won’t be getting another late night host who has been so famous in America for so long that he already knows all the other famous people and spends a boggling amount of chat time talking about wild times with his “good friend” the guest in question (sorry, Jimmy Fallon, but you know it’s true). Think of it this way: James Corden is never going to have a story about how Cameron Diaz pranked his baby. That’s refreshing on its own.
There’s no word yet when Corden will take over the show. Ferguson is expected to exit by the end of this year.