As part of the late night talk show reshuffle that’s been going on the for the last year, CBS has just announced that British comedian and TV host James Corden will replace Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show. The hand-off date is not final, but it will be “sometime” in 2015, which means that next year the CBS late night roster will be Stephen Colbert followed by Corden. And Corden, who is 36—the youngest (soon-to-be) host on late night—will help with that youth problem that continues to plague CBS. Hopefully. I’m not sure that “young guy = young audience”, but that’s part of their thinking, anyway.
I can’t begrudge Corden his success because he’s a truly talented entertainer—he won a Tony in 2012 for One man, Two Guvnors, and he’s a BAFTA-winning actor and respected comedian. He sings, he acts, he writes, he can host and tell jokes—he’s the total package, and like Ferguson before him, he’s a blank slate with US audiences which means he can train us to expect anything. Colbert goes into his late night job next year burdened by his own glory, as it were, but Corden is an unknown who can shape his show to be whatever suits him best. (Although if we’re importing saucy British comedians to host TV shows, is it too much to ask for Graham Norton?)
But still. It’s another white guy. With the exception of Jimmy Kimmel’s, all of the late night desks have turned over or are turning over in the next year, and every job went to a white guy. They’re all talented, they’re all funny. But they’re also all the same. At least Corden is English, giving him some different ground to mine. I keep saying it and it continues to be true—diversity is a commitment. It’s disappointing in 2014 how many people still won’t commit to it.