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CBS Circling James Corden to Replace Craig Ferguson on 'Late Late Show'

CBS may have found its successor for the 12:35 a.m. talk show months after Ferguson announced his plans to exit.

James Corden Headshot - P 2014
AP Images/Invision
James Corden

CBS may have found found its new Late Late Show host: James Corden.

Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that the network is circling the 35-year-old English actor-producer-TV personality to replace Craig Ferguson in the 12:35 a.m. time slot. CBS declined comment.

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Corden saw early success as co-creator of the acclaimed British series Gavin and Stacey and in 2012, won a Tony Award for the comedic play One Man, Two Guvnors. He next stars as the Baker in the anticipated Disney big-screen musical Into the Woods and can be seen in the Mark Ruffalo-Keira Knightley film Begin Again. Corden, repped by CAA, also starred in One Chance and Gulliver's Travels and guest-starred on Doctor Who.

Though not well known in the U.S., Corden has a massive following in the U.K. and on social media, where he boasts 4.35 million Twitter followers. That edge could transition CBS' late-night block to the current landscape and become a viable competitor to NBC's heavily social media presence for Tonight Show and Late Night.

If true, the news comes months after Ferguson, a Scotland native, announced April 28 that he would be exiting as host of the late-night talk show in December when his contract expires, following nearly 10 years at the helm.

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“I’ll be stepping down at the end of this year, in December. Then I’ll go and do something else, probably, I’m thinking carpentry, but I haven’t made my mind up yet," Ferguson said on Late Late Show at the time. "I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I feel doing this show for 10 years, that’s enough.”

CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler indicated to THR in late April that there was no frontrunner for the 12:35 a.m. slot and echoed that sentiment in July during summer Television Critics Association press tour. "Obviously, it's an incredibly valuable time period," she said in April of the future of 12:35 a.m. "We haven't really thought about it yet. We want to let this sink in."

And later in July, Tassler told reporters that she and her colleagues would huddle in August to begin discussing a timeline for the late-night transition and to start looking at potentially tweaking the Late Late Show format, hinting that Ferguson's replacement could either be a comic or a political host. Other names had been tossed around as possible replacements, including Joel McHale, Neil Patrick Harris and The Talk co-host Aisha Tyler.

Ferguson took over as Late Late Show host in 2005 from Craig Kilborn, and has several projects in the works, including hosting Celebrity Name Game, a syndicated game show starting this fall that he will host and executive produce, and continuing to develop TV projects through his Green Mountain West production company.

It's been a year of movement in late night. CBS and Comedy Central are preparing for a major shift in their respective late-night lineups, while NBC successfully relaunched the Tonight Show and Late Night franchises earlier this year with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, respectively. The Colbert Report's Stephen Colbert takes over as Letterman's successor at the Late Show, with Comedy Central tapping Daily Show veteran Larry Wilmore's The Minority Report to take over Colbert's 11:30 p.m. slot.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
Twitter: @insidethetube