Who is James Corden? asks America as he is framed for major talk show slot

 

For a nation still reeling from three years of Piers Morgan, the news that another Brit is pitching to become American television’s king of chat has prompted consternation and confusion. “So who is James Corden?” asked publications from the International Business Times to Salon magazine as the comic actor was named hot favourite to take over The Late Late Show.

Corden, 35, was widely reported to be CBS’s choice to replace the Scottish comic Craig Ferguson as host of the cult US chat show, which is broadcast after the Late Show with David Letterman every weeknight at 12.35am.

Ferguson, who announced he was stepping down in April, has helmed the show since 2005 and earned a Peabody Award for his mix of humorous monologues and celebrity interviews.

With millions of younger viewers still available after hours, the late slot remains a fiercely competitive battleground for the networks.

Names mooted to take over from Ferguson, whose ratings have slipped from a 2009 peak, include Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris and the E! Channel's late-night chat show host Chelsea Handler.

But CBS threw viewers a curveball by offering the gig to Corden, 35, who is familiar to Broadway audiences after his Tony Award-winning performance in One Man, Two Guvnors, but whose name means little in heartland America.

“Googles James Corden” became a popular Tweet as US opinion-formers scrambled over Corden’s CV to bring nonplussed viewers up to speed.

The Londoner’s early break on Hollyoaks was glossed over, but Corden’s upcoming acting performance alongside Meryl Streep in the Disney film Into The Woods was noted approvingly. “He’s proven to be a force to be reckon with when it comes to the small screen,” said the International Business Times.

“He’s hosted the Brit Awards four times. And he cut off Adele,” reported online culture magazine Slate. “Nobody cuts off Adele!”

However Salon.com said Corden’s “laddish humour” was a retrograde step, when CBS could have struck a blow for diversity by hiring the comedian Maya Rudolph or the talk show host Aisha Tyler.

“The fact remains that CBS would, apparently, rather take their chances on a guy whose main distinguishing factor is his boorish nature over a universally liked woman with whom American audiences are more familiar,” the publication complained.

Craig Ferguson interviewing Lily Allen on The Late Late Show (Getty) Craig Ferguson interviewing Lily Allen on The Late Late Show (Getty)
Despite the end of Piers Morgan’s provocative tenure as CNN’s host after three years, quickwitted Brits remain in fashion on American television. For instance, Former Daily Show sidekick John Oliver has graduated to his own acclaimed HBO satire show.

Ferguson, another unknown before CBS gave a break to a stand-up best known for his alter-ego Bing Hitler, remains a popular figure and was given $5m in compensation after failing to be chosen to replace David Letterman in the plum slot, when the veteran entertainer retires next year.

If Corden moves to Los Angeles, which CBS had yet to confirm, he would be a beneficiary of a shake-up in late night US television, heralded by Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report’s move to take over as Letterman's successor at the Late Show next year. Corden’s social media footprint was also a factor for CBS.

The double Bafta-winner has 4.35 million Twitter followers, which the network hopes to deploy in its battle against NBC, which successfully relaunched its Tonight Show and Late Night franchises earlier this year with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, respectively.

At ease playing off public off figures ranging from David Beckham to Prince Charles and with a knack for spontaneity, Corden is most likely to produce the kind of chat-show sequences which spread virally on YouTube, creating a buzz around the show with its target youth demographic.

Nina Tassler, CBS entertainment chairman, said there was a “knee-jerk reaction to go for a more traditional sort of behind-the-desk interview format,” among rival chat shows.

Ferguson's successor was “an opportunity for us to look at all different kinds of hosts” including figures from the “political world” as well as the “comic world”.

Although the “live audience” for The Late Late Show hovers at around barely 1.5m viewers, a successful takeover by Corden could make him a contender for the “king of chat” role when Colbert comes to hand over the reigns of the Broadway-recorded Late Show

When Corden wowed the Great White Way with his Two Guvnors performance, the New York Daily News declared: “He is so mad talented, adorable and hilarious. Can we keep James Corden in New York for good?” That would be the ultimate prize for the latest Brit to colonise America’s chat shows.

Brits on the US box

Piers Morgan: Former tabloid editor survived three years in high-profile nightly CNN chat show before ratings tumble and refusal to abandon his gun control soapbox finally did for him. “I’m ready to move on,” Morgan said. “I want to do big interviews.”

John Oliver: Unknown when he joined Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Brit with a licence to point out America’s foibles passed on the CBS Late Late Show and graduated to his own HBO satirical show, which attracts 50 million YouTube views.

Simon Cowell: The model for mouthy Brits with global ambitions, Cowell’s abrasive performance as judge turned American Idol into a US phenomenon. The X Factor USA proved less enduring, sending the mogul back to Britain.

Ant & Dec: Geordie duo are determined to conquer America, despite a 2008 US gamble on their Wanna Bet! series failing. “There has been some interest in Saturday Night Takeaway from the States. We have had a couple of meetings about it,” said the optimistic Dec.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Ad Sales - UK Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global mul...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel your sales role is l...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Vendor Services Manager (IT) - Central London

£50000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Vendor Services Manager (...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth