Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. Since taking the helm of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on January 3, 2005, the show has set all-time viewer records and achieved the highest ratings since the shows inception in 1995.
Type: Talk Show
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - Netflix
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is an American late-night talk show hosted by Scottish American comedian Craig Ferguson. It was the third iteration of the Late Late Show franchise, airing from 2005 to 2014. It followed the Late Show with David Letterman in the CBS late-night lineup, airing weekdays in the U.S. at 12:37 a.m. Taped in front of a live studio audience from Monday to Friday at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, directly above the Bob Barker Studio (Studio 33), it was produced by David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants Incorporated and CBS Television Studios. The Late Late Show franchise had previously aired as The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, then as The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. During the late 2004 transition of guest hosts following Craig Kilborn's departure, Craig Ferguson hosted a series of shows in October and November, culminating in being announced on December 7 as the pick for new host. After launching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on January 3, 2005, Ferguson achieved the highest ratings since the show's inception in 1995. While comedy was emphasized in the majority of the episodes, Ferguson also addressed difficult subject matters, such as the deaths of his parents, his struggles with alcoholism, and commenting on national tragedies; and undertook serious interviews, such as one with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which earned the show a 2009 Peabody Award. Despite not initially having a sidekick, comedian and voice actor Josh Robert Thompson joined the show in 2010 and voiced sidekick Geoff Peterson until the show's finale. On April 28, 2014, Ferguson announced that he was ending the show at the end of the year. The last episode aired on December 19, 2014. Afterwards, Late Late Show began a series of episodes with guest hosts; new permanent host James Corden began his iteration of the franchise on March 23, 2015.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - Final seasons and departure - Netflix
Following the departure of Jay Leno from The Tonight Show and the late night shake-up at NBC, both Late Show and The Late Late Show struggled in the ratings against Jimmy Fallon and his successor at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT, Late Night with Seth Meyers. In April 2014, Letterman announced his plans to retire. CBS passed over Ferguson to choose Stephen Colbert as the new host of Late Show beginning sometime in 2015, reportedly viewing Ferguson as too much of a niche performer to succeed Letterman. Ferguson's contract, which expired in June 2014 stipulated that he was Letterman's successor at 11:30 and that if he was not given the position, he would be paid compensation of as much as US$10,000,000. Letterman's contract included the right to control the time slot that follows his and produce the Late Late Show and it was his production company, Worldwide Pants, which selected Ferguson as host and with whom his contracts were negotiated. With Letterman's departure, CBS would become the sole producer of the show and it is the network which determines what is done with the time slot and with which any contract is negotiated. CBS had been ambiguous in regard to Ferguson's future as host of The Late Late Show. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves said in an interview: “12:30 is up in the air [...] Obviously, we’re considering all sorts of candidates and women are among them. A woman would be great in late night.” However, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said that the CBS management are “big fans of Craig” and that “Craig is here and doing his show at 12.30am, and we love having him there”. Chelsea Handler had reportedly begun negotiations to take over hosting of The Late Late Show when Ferguson's contract expired; however, both Handler and CBS later denied this, saying she was in fact in negotiations with CBS' syndication arm for a daytime show. John Oliver was also reportedly approached by CBS as a possible Late Late Show host prior to his signing a contract with HBO, as were Neil Patrick Harris and James Corden. On April 28, 2014, Ferguson announced he would leave the show in December 2014. He had made the decision prior to Letterman's announcement but agreed to delay making his own decision public until the reaction to Letterman's decision had died down. He had also originally intended to leave in the summer of 2014 but agreed to stay until the end of the year to give CBS more time to find a successor. In a statement following his announcement, Tassler said that in his decade as host, Ferguson had “infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews, and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television”. In an interview with Larry King, Ferguson stated that the final episode of The Late Late Show with him as host would air December 19, 2014. In September 2014, comedian James Corden was announced as host of The Late Late Show with James Corden, beginning in 2015. In November 2014, CBS announced Jay Leno would be Ferguson's guest on his final show; during December “notable friends of the show” scheduled for appearances in December included Kristen Bell, Steve Carell, Jon Hamm, Rashida Jones, Mila Kunis, Thomas Lennon, Tim Meadows (whose 41 appearances set the show's record), Jim Parsons, Michael Sheen, Ariel Tweto, Betty White, and Henry Winkler. Meanwhile, several of Ferguson's final episodes dealt with his distaste for abstract expressionism—Mark Rothko in particular—and public reactions to that stance. Ferguson's final episode started with the usual cold open, but this time showing a montage of friends from the show while they performed Dead Man Fall's song “Bang Your Drum”. Cameos included: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick (plus dog Lily), Jack Black, Kristen Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Carell, Don Cheadle, Kristin Chenoweth, Marion Cotillard, Tenacious D, Jeff Daniels, Ted Danson, Kat Dennings, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Carl Edwards, Cedric the Entertainer, Jon Hamm, Sean Hayes, Samuel L. Jackson, Rashida Jones, Toby Keith, Jimmy Kimmel, Mila Kunis, Lisa Kudrow, Jane Lynch, Justin Long, James Marsden, Matthew McConaughey, Mary McCormack, Joel McHale, Tim Meadows, Metallica, Kunal Nayyar, Geoff Peterson, Regis Philbin, Ray Romano, Bob Saget, William Shatner, Michael Sheen, Quentin Tarantino, Josh Robert Thompson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Henry Winkler, Shailene Woodley, Weird Al Yankovic, Larry King, Angela Kinsey, Betty White, Thomas Lennon, and various friends. The pre-taped montage segued to the studio with Ferguson continuing the song backed by the occasional semi-house band Bone Patrol, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, a full choir, various celebrities, musicians, and friends of the show. The monologue began with a short time lapse of Craig coming out to start show through the last 10 years, starting on his first day (January 3, 2005) to his last. Craig thanked his comedic partner Josh Robert Thompson, the viewers, the crew, and explained:
After reading his last Tweets & E-mails and doing his final interview with guest Jay Leno, the show ended with his final segment: What Did We Learn on the Show Over the Last 10 Years Craig? Craig tells Geoff he wants to finally find out who the real identity of Secretariat is. Asked to lift up his mask, it's revealed to be Bob Newhart. Craig asks, “Bob Newhart?! What are you doing here?” to which Newhart replies, “Hey guy, it's your dream.” Craig wakes up next to Drew Carey as Nigel Wick and proceeds to spoof the finales of Newhart (the show was all a dream), St. Elsewhere (he imagined it all from a snowglobe), and The Sopranos (cut to black with Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'”).
Over the years, going with this show out and around, or going and doing stand-up with Josh, I've come into contact with a lot of people who are viewers of this show, and although I said my goodbyes to the crew, the people who made this show are you. You came to a show that, let's be honest, was a bit of a fixer-upper. It kind of stayed that way, but what I hope we've done [...] maybe art is a very grand word, but I think what we managed to do here is make something that wasn't here before. So in that sense maybe it is a piece of art, it didn't exist and now it does. What we've done here, it doesn't go away because I stopped doing it, we stop doing this and we start doing something else [...] maybe [...] later, or maybe I go away and this is it! But I think what was more overwhelming than anything else in the experience of doing this show was making a connection with a country which I became a part of, which is astonishing to me. Even in the course of this show I became an American, officially and particularly for my friends at the IRS, I am now a fully-fledged American. However, what I can't be is a member of a club, which I didn't really ask to join, I wanted to do this show [...] and now we've done this show, and if you will indulge me in whatever I'm doing now and come to whatever I do next I'd be very grateful, because my kids are still young.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - References - Netflix