It was big news yesterday – the announcement that after next season, James Corden will be leaving The Late Late Show. One of the major reasons this was a surprise is that the show is considered a success. It’s not like James and The Late Late Show were struggling. Carpool Karaoke is basically now a pop culture institution. He’s friendly with so many celebrities who are willing to come on his show or do sketches with him and/or participate in games, so many of his videos go viral, and for sure he’s making money for the network, CBS, a network that’s known to be, well, kinda skewing on the older side – and James’s content gave them some younger traction.
That said, it also hasn’t been a secret that James, who is from England, misses home. And that he has interests beyond being a talk show host. He’s a writer, he’s an actor, he’s super into musicals, in case that wasn’t obvious, but this job puts limitations on his time and energy. I too work on a daily live talk show; the work is fun, for sure, but it can be a grind. Putting out a new episode every single day takes a certain creative stamina that, sometimes, doesn’t leave much room for anything else. So it has to be worth it.
And I’m sure for James, both financially and strategically, it has been up to this point. Prior to him taking over The Late Late Show he may have been well-known in the UK but he didn’t have anywhere near the profile he has now; now he’s a household name. So, probably, he left some money on the table here. I can’t see any possibility that CBS wouldn’t have wanted him for more than just the year extension he’s agreed to. But for him? Big ups to James and his management – I think this is a good decision for where he is in his career.
As he said, “I never want this show to overstay its welcome in any way. I always want to love making it. And I really think that a year from now, that will be a good time to move on and see what else might be out there”. He then promised to “go out with a bang”, which I totally believe – that they’ll pour everything they have into his final season and it’s going to be one greatest hit and surprise moment after another.
After that, with all the goodwill he’ll accumulate during his final year, he kinda writes his own ticket. At just 43, there are at least three more chapters in James Corden’s career. That’s what I like most about it – that not only is he seeing that but he’s refusing to ignore it.
Here’s James out for gas today after the announcement.