2:06pm PT by Michael O'Connell
James Corden, 'Late Late' Heir, Is the Most Famous Person You Probably Don't Know
More than a few folks are thinking the same thing after reading the news of James Corden's move into Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show desk. Is CBS really giving this choice hour of TV real estate to another barely recognizable Brit?
Anybody sharing that sentiment is egregiously misinformed. Corden isn't just a big name, he's a huge one. And with a starring role in one of the year's most-anticipated movies, his ubiquity in his native U.K. will likely soon extend to the U.S.
STORY CBS Circling James Corden to Replace Craig Ferguson on 'Late Late Show'
Here are several bits of vital information to better acquaint yourself with Corden, if you haven't already been formally introduced.
He is unavoidable in England
Corden's exposure in his homeland rivals that of any stateside late-night host. He's a regular on the talk circuit, graces magazine covers (GQ man of the year 2012), boasts multiple advertising deals (check out this viral Cadbury spot) and has had more starring roles in television series and films than can be easily tallied.
He's got a huge Twitter following
Do you know what's even more impressive than having 4.4 million Twitter followers? Having 4.4 million Twitter followers and completely neglecting them. Corden's social posse is commensurate with his fame, but he is cool enough to be a fair-weather tweeter. More power to him.
He's about to break out either way
After flirting with international fame for years, Cordon consummates that relationship come December when Into the Woods hits theaters. The long-awaited film treatment of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's iconic musical stars Corden as the Baker. Castmates include Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Meryl Streep. (You know, the usual suspects.)
VIDEO Watch the 'Into the Woods' Trailer
He created Gavin and Stacey
Americans who do know Corden are likely most familiar with his supporting work on critically cherished comedy Gavin and Stacey. What they might not know is that he also co-created the series with writing partner and co-star Ruth Jones.
He has a new show on Hulu
The Wrong Mans, another Corden vehicle and co-creation, scored a sophomore season renewal from BBC Two earlier this year. The dramedy, also from Matthew Baynton, airs on Hulu in the U.S.
He slimmed down quite a bit
Hold on to those heartstrings. Corden, previously a bit of a big-boned fellow, shed a considerable amount of weight in recent years after the birth of his first child. At the time, he told The Mirror that he got dietary advice from … Boy George.
He's a Tony winner
Theater geeks might also know Corden. His sprawling stage career — History Boys, A Respectable Wedding, One Man, Two Guvnors — won him a 2012 Tony award for lead role in a play when One Man, Two Guvnors hopped over the pond to Broadway.
He used to live with Dominic Cooper
Corden is close pals with History Boys co-star and Captain America actor Dominic Cooper. The pair were actually roommates for quite a while until things got serious between Corden and now-wife Julia Carey. "I was still there when his new girlfriend moved in," Cooper told The Guardian in 2011. "And when she got pregnant. It was only when they started measuring up for a cot at the end of my bed, I thought I'd better move out."
He has ample hosting experience
Though he may not be known for his emcee skills, Corden is fully capable. He's hosted the Brit Awards three times — earning rave reviews and planning elaborate stunts. (See him setting himself ablaze above.)
And he's got major geek cred
Ferguson likely approves of this suggested replacement, if only for their shared love of British sci-fi mega-series Doctor Who. A professed fan of the series, Corden has also guested on the show twice in recent years as Matt Smith favorite Craig Owens.