by Julian Spivey
James Corden announced in late April that he will be leaving CBS’ “Late, Late Show” in mid-2023 after eight years hosting the late night talk show, which he revolutionized in many ways from bringing panel-style interviewing and YouTube friendly musical bits and numbers to the medium.
The anticipation of who will be Corden’s replacement on “Late, Late Show” is one of the biggest talking points in late night television and will be until CBS makes an announcement, if the network decides to even continue the show or keep the same single-host format it’s always had.
I have some candidates I think could be good replacements for Corden as “Late, Late Show” host and I will preface from the beginning that none of them are white guys. Late night talk shows have been a white guy party for far too long and there’s no way CBS should hire a white guy as Corden’s replacement. And if the network absolutely must replace Corden with a white guy it should be someone like Dan Levy, who at least doesn’t come from a hetero point of view.
Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph & Samantha Bee
I’m going to go with Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph (who would be my preferred choice of the three) and Samantha Bee first because I think they are the most unlikely replacements for Corden simple based on being in their 50s and the network probably wanting to go with someone younger, especially following Stephen Colbert, who’s also in his 50s, on the “Late Show.” Fey’s wit, Rudolph’s variety background and Bee already hosting a late night show in TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” all would be great for the job though.
If the networks wanted a female point of view from someone a bit younger than the three women I mentioned above they might need to look at Mindy Kaling, who would be 44 around the time she’d need to take over. Kaling has had a critically-acclaimed sitcom, written multiple best-selling books and even wrote and produced a film based on a late night talk show in 2019’s “Late Night.”
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah seems like the most obvious candidate to take over as host of the “Late, Late Show,” but there is the question as to whether or not Noah would view it as a good career move. It’s really not a promotion. Sure, it would be a network show, but “The Daily Show” is better regarded in the pantheon of television. It would be a lateral move at best. The money involved would probably be the deciding factor and CBS might not want to go big on a contract for the show.
Hasan Minhaj has a late night talk show style background having been a senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” before doing his own similar series “Patriot Act” on Netflix for two years, where it won two Peabody Awards. Critics loved it, but I’m not sure how many people actually watched it with Netflix pulling the plug after 40 episodes. The late night format doesn’t seem to work with streamers. Minhaj could be a cheaper addition than Noah if CBS is wanting to save some money.
Roy Wood Jr.
Roy Wood Jr. has been a popular correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” during Trevor Noah’s tenure as host of the politically engaged series. If the network is looking for late night’s first African-American host since the days of the syndicated Arsenio Hall show in the early ‘90s, Wood might be near the top of their prospects list.
Just last week many were shocked to see the end of Showtime’s talk show “Desus & Mero,” co-hosted by Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, after the two have seemingly had a falling out. Listening to The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top Five podcast co-host and TV critic Daniel Fienberg was discussing whether Desus or Mero would be a good fit for the “Late, Late Show” and said he didn’t think Mero would have any interest, but he could see Desus Nice doing it. Something that made “Desus & Mero” a standout was its perspective with the hosts being black and from immigrant families and that would definitely be a fresh perspective for a network late night show.
Now we arrive at the choice I would make if I were CBS … Amber Ruffin. She’s already doing it on a smaller scale hosting her own series, the critically-acclaimed “The Amber Ruffin Show” on Peacock, while also still participating in “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Corden’s direct competition. Ruffin is really a no-brainer choice, if she had no qualms about going into direct competition with Meyers, who gave her her big shot in late night comedy.
Who is most likely to replace Corden when it’s all said and done? Probably a straight white guy.