The Late Late Show (CBS TV series)

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This article is about the U.S. talk show. For the Irish chat show, see The Late Late Show. For the current incarnation of this show on CBS, see The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
The Late Late Show
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson logo.jpg
Created by David Letterman
Presented by
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 3,849 (as of February 26, 2014)
Production
Location(s) CBS Television City
Los Angeles, California
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format
Original run January 9, 1995 (1995-01-09) – present (present)
Chronology
Preceded by Crimetime After Primetime
Related shows Late Show
External links
Website

The Late Late Show is an American late-night television talk and variety show on CBS. It first aired in January 1995, with host Tom Snyder. Since January 2005 it has been hosted by Craig Ferguson. It is produced by Worldwide Pants Incorporated, the production company owned by the host of the show that immediately precedes it, Late Show with David Letterman, and CBS Television Studios. It originates from CBS Television City and is shot in High Definition, as of August 31, 2009.

The show differs from most of the other extant late-night talk shows in that it has never used a house band nor an in-studio announcer.

History[edit]

Host From To Number
of Shows
Date Age Date Age
Tom Snyder January 9, 1995 58 March 26, 1999 62 777
Craig Kilborn March 29, 1999 36 August 27, 2004 42 1190
Craig Ferguson January 3, 2005 42 December 19, 2014 52 2000+
James Corden March 9, 2015 36

Tom Snyder (1995–99)[edit]

The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder logo

Tom Snyder hosted the program from its inception in January 1995 until March 1999. The choice of Snyder as host was apparently made by David Letterman, whose contract with CBS gave him the power to produce the show in the timeslot immediately after his own program; previously the slot had been taken up by repeats of Crimetime After Primetime.[citation needed]

Letterman and Snyder had a long history together: a 1978 Tomorrow episode hosted by Snyder was almost exclusively devoted to a long interview with up-and-coming new comedy talents Letterman, Billy Crystal and Merrill Markoe. And in 1982, when Tomorrow was canceled by NBC, Letterman took over Snyder's time slot with his own NBC show Late Night with David Letterman.

Snyder's show featured a mix of celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers, but was otherwise quite unlike the program hosted by Letterman. Snyder was a former newsman, not a comedian, and his show featured an intimate interview format with no studio audience present, similar to his old Tomorrow show of the 1970s, or to Charlie Rose show and Later, which had abandoned the format the previous year. Though the show lacked a studio audience, Snyder still frequently gave extended conversational monologues, many of which contained jokes that prompted audible laughter from the off-camera production staff. Throughout most of the show's run, it was also simulcast over some CBS Radio stations,[1] and Snyder accepted calls from viewers/listeners somewhat in the manner of Larry King.

Occasionally, the show featured guest hosts such as Jon Stewart or Janeane Garofalo during weeks when Snyder was off.[citation needed]

Saxophonist David Sanborn composed and performed the theme music and several other songs featured on the show, all of which were smooth jazz pieces to fit the show's low-key, middle-of-the-night mood. Sanborn had previously been a guest saxophonist in The World's Most Dangerous Band during Late Night with David Letterman. Unlike other late-night shows, The Late Late Show did not have a house band (a tradition that carried on to its successors) or any announcer, except for the last episode, when Snyder allowed one of his staff members to announce an introduction.

Snyder was originally scheduled to broadcast his last Late Late Show on March 19, 1999. However, his replacement Craig Kilborn was still working out the kinks in the new show's format,[citation needed] so the 62-year-old Snyder agreed to "help out the new guy" by filling in for another week.

Craig Kilborn (1999–2004)[edit]

When Snyder announced he was leaving, the show was reformatted to resemble Letterman and other major late-night talk programs. Craig Kilborn took over in March 1999, having left The Daily Show to become the new Late Late Show host.

When Kilborn was on the show, it began with an image of a full moon wavering behind gray stratus clouds, to the tuning of an orchestra, while the announcer—the recorded, modulated voice of Kilborn himself—blurted out, "From the gorgeous, gorgeous Hollywood Hills in sunny California, it's your Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Tonight [...]", and then the guests were announced, backed by the show's theme song, composed by Neil Finn.[citation needed] Then Kilborn was presented, "Ladies and gentlemen, *pause* Mister Craig Kilborn", with the 1970s disco band Wild Cherry song "Play That Funky Music".

After Kilborn's stand-up monologue, he walked to his "Bavarian oak desk"[citation needed] while Finn's theme song continued playing with the chorus "The Late Late Show is starting. The Late Late Show is starting now." The "Desk Chat" was said[citation needed] to be Craig's favorite part of the show.

During later seasons,[specify] the opening consisted of shots of various Los Angeles hotspots accompanied by a new theme song performed and written by Chris Isaak. For this new theme song, Kilborn would be played to the desk with a chorus of "The Late Late Show is starting".

Segments included:[citation needed]

  • In the News: A news segment, whose theme song was Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", where Kilborn would provide a humorous overview of the day's events. It was briefly called "The World of Whimsy" following the September 11th attacks. The segment also included characters such as the hoary and cherubic "Ewok Guy" or the rapping "PG&E" Lady.
  • What Up?: A Friday segment where Kilborn and three other panelists discussed and joked about the news.
  • To Blank with Love: Kilborn dedicated verses to different people and things
  • Five Questions: Kilborn asked a geography question, a Match Game-style "blank" question where the guest had to fill a blank with a word related to the guest, a "Now think of other one" question in which the guest had to guess what Kilborn had in mind. This segment was a holdover from Kilborn's previous job as the host of The Daily Show.
  • Tuesdays with Buddy: Featuring Buddy Hackett
  • Yambo: An elimination game between two guests. Kilborn would slowly walk in a circle around the two celebrity guess and randomly yell questions at them. A correct answer within three seconds earned them a point; three points won a game. Failure to answer or a wrong answer earned a strike; three strikes resulted in the opponent winning.
  • The Weather with Petra Nemcova: Craig and Goldy would sometimes do a weather report with model Petra Němcová. The theme song was: "Petra, Petra tell us the weather, Tell us the weather to make us feel better. Petra, Petra, tell us whether we need to bring a jacket, or not."

Kilborn left the program on August 27, 2004, following negotiations which ended when he opted not to renew his contract. On a June 2010 interview, promoting his new show The Kilborn File, Kilborn stated that he left late night television due to him thinking that the late night timeslot was "crowded" and that he wanted to be part of "the first comedy show at dinner time".[2]

Craig Kilborn promised his fans that if the Minnesota Timberwolves, his favorite NBA team, ever win the NBA championship, he will return for one guest host episode.[citation needed]

Transition[edit]

Subsequent new shows featured guest hosts, culminating in week-long showcases for four finalists: Craig Ferguson, D. L. Hughley, Damien Fahey, and Michael Ian Black. It was announced on December 7, 2004 that Ferguson, a Scottish comedian best known from his role as Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, was to become Kilborn's permanent replacement. David Letterman later said he made the selection based on the recommendation of Peter Lassally.[3]

Craig Ferguson (2005–14)[edit]

Under Craig Ferguson's tenure as host, the show starts with a cold open,[4] followed by opening credits and a commercial break. A loose comic monologue then follows, consistently including a greeting ("Welcome to Los Angeles, California, welcome to the Late Late Show, I am your host, TV's Craig Ferguson") and the proclamation that "It's a great day for America, everybody!".[5]

Since 2010 the monologue also includes banter with Geoff Peterson, his "robot skeleton sidekick", voiced and controlled by Josh Robert Thompson. This animatronic was constructed by the Mythbusters' Grant Imahara but went through many revisions, the most important was the regular live control and voicing by Thompson. This has changed the dynamic of the show as Ferguson has a recurring 'sidekick' to banter with.

Many routines such as 'big cash prize', 'choose your vegetable' are rotated throughout a time period. Ferguson is not against reviving a routine if the topic comes up. Usually involving one of the many props he keeps on and under the desk just in case.

After another commercial break, the banter continues with Ferguson sitting behind a desk. He usually reads and responds to viewer e-mail and (since February 2010[6]) Twitter messages for random responses to viewer questions.

During segments Ferguson occasionally will receive phone calls (voiced by Thompson) from a variety of characters, including celebrities, the 'very shy' band (Alfredo Sauce and the Shy Guys) allegedly hiding behind the set's curtain, room service, a duplicate Geoff, and Miriam, a possible stalker who confuses Ferguson with former host Craig Kilborn. All the characters' dialogue are widely considered to be improvised during taping but there is controversy over this view. Some viewers have claimed to see Ferguson mouthing Thompson's words (lines) during this section as they are spoken.

Ferguson calls his Twitter followers his "robot skeleton army."[7]

Generally one or two celebrities are interviewed; Ferguson starts each by dramatically ripping up note cards written for the interview, "signalling to the audience, and to the guest, that this conversation need not be rigidly managed."[8] At the end of an interview, Ferguson usually asks his guest to engage in one of various rituals; options in the past have included "Awkward Pause", "Mouth Organ", "Guess What the Queen is Thinking", the "Big Cash Prize," or simply joining Ferguson in throwing Frisbees at the show's "horse," Secretariat (actually two interns dressed in a pantomime horse costume). Occasionally Craig will request Thompson (as Geoff) to interpret the thoughts of Secretariat or others, in one of a variety of celebrity voices, most notably Morgan Freeman. During a guest appearance, Morgan Freeman described Thompson's prompted vocal impression of himself as "impeccable".

Sometimes the show features a stand-up comedian or a musical guest, the latter of which is typically pre-taped.[5]

Ferguson incorporates various running gags. Early examples include themed weeks such as "Crab Week", "Magic Week" and "Shark Week". Shark Week was apparently a reference to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and that channel, saying that Ferguson has always loved Shark Week, scheduled him for an appearance on August 4, 2010.[9] a "photo of Paul McCartney" joke (wherein Ferguson will call for a photo of McCartney, which is actually a photo of actress Angela Lansbury and vice versa); the show often uses variations of this gag featuring other pairs of look-alike celebrities, such as Cher being shown as Marilyn Manson.[10]

The show ends with "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?", a segment that starts with an animation of a kitten and in which Ferguson "removes his tie, puts his feet on his desk, and summarizes the preceding hour of TV."[11] Since the introduction of the Geoff character, Ferguson usually discusses the day's lesson with the robot.

Ferguson's tenure included the show's first high definition broadcast, on August 31, 2009. In March 2010, the Late Late Show won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television for its "Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu" episode.[12] According to the Peabody Board, "the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas."[13]

In April 2012, CBS announced that they had reached an agreement with Ferguson to extend his contract through 2014. As part of the deal, the network began co-producing the show for the first time in Late, Late Show history.[14]

Ferguson's departure[edit]

Ferguson's contract was set to expire in June 2014.[15] His contract called for him to be first in line to replace David Letterman as host of the Late Show; since CBS chose Stephen Colbert for that position, Ferguson is set to receive a windfall of as much as $10,000,000.[16] 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 becomes the sole producer of the show.[16]

On April 28, 2014, Craig Ferguson announced he will be leaving The Late Late Show at the end of the year.[17] He had reportedly 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.[18] On the episode aired July 14, 2014, Ferguson mentioned that his last show will be December 19, 2014.

James Corden (beginning 2015)[edit]

On September 8, 2014 CBS announced that James Corden will succeed Ferguson as host on March 9, 2015.[19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Late Late Show With Tom Snyder And Steve Mason". 
  2. ^ "Craig Kilborn on Good Day LA (The Kilborn File)". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  3. ^ "Dave at Peace: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. September 18, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. 
  4. ^ "The Late Late Show Video — The Late Late Show". CBS.com. November 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  5. ^ a b "Craig Ferguson a standout at standup". St. Petersburg Times. August 16, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  6. ^ "With @CraigyFerg, Craig Ferguson leaps into the Twitter fray". Christian Science Monitor. February 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  7. ^ Weilage, Mary (February 12, 2010). "Video: Craig Ferguson's Twitter followers and his robot-skeleton army". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  8. ^ Bianculli, David (March 2009). "Late-Night TV Chess: Thanks to a Bishop, Craig Ferguson Is King". TV Worth Watching. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  9. ^ "Happy SHARK WEEK, SHARK BITES: ADVENTURES IN SHARK WEEK" (Press release). Discovery.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  10. ^ e.g. "Do we have a picture of Cher?" from cbs.com[dead link]
  11. ^ Bianculli, David (March 2009). "Late-Night TV Chess: Thanks to a Bishop, Craig Ferguson Is King". TV Worth Watching. Retrieved 2009-09-01. "The show actually ended, as usual these days, with "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?", a segment in which the host removes his tie, shoes and socks and puts his barefeet on his desk, and summarizes the preceding hour of TV." 
  12. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 31, 2010). "‘Glee’ and Craig Ferguson Win Peabody Awards". New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Complete List of Recipients of the 69th Annual Peabody Awards". Press release. University of Georgia. March 31, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  14. ^ "CBS ANNOUNCES NEW CONTRACT EXTENSIONS WITH LATE NIGHT STARS DAVID LETTERMAN AND CRAIG FERGUSON THROUGH 2014". CBS Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  15. ^ "CBS' Nina Tassler: No Craig Ferguson Replacement Before Upfronts (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. April 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Craig Ferguson faces uncertain future at CBS with David Letterman gone, contract ending in 2015". Hollywood Reporter. April 11, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ Carter, Bill (April 28, 2014). "Craig Ferguson to Leave CBS at End of Year". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Craig Ferguson: ‘I Wanted to Leave the Show Before I Stopped Enjoying It’ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. April 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ Carter, Bill (September 8, 2014). "James Corden to Replace Craig Ferguson as Host of ‘The Late, Late Show’ on CBS". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  20. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (October 23, 2014). "'The Late Late Show With James Corden' to Premiere Monday March 9, 2015". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]