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Ahead of Sunday’s Tony Awards, host James Corden is making the rounds with various New York-based media outlets.
On Monday he appeared on Sirius XM’s Howard Stern Show. Never one to shy away from exploring a potentially uncomfortable topic, Stern asked about the possibility of The Late Late Show host replacing Stephen Colbert as host of the earlier Late Show.
Corden has found success with his “Carpool Karaoke” bits in his 12:37 a.m. slot, while critics are saying Colbert’s Late Show is still trying to find its identity. Ratings-wise, The Late Show is still getting beaten by time-slot champion The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC and has been roughly even with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, with the latter show pulling out several weekly wins this season.
In April, CBS This Morning executive producer Chris Licht was bumped up to serve as showrunner on The Late Show, a move some observers interpreted as a sign of trouble on Colbert’s program, even though it was mostly made to allow Colbert, who’d been serving as host and de facto showrunner, an exhausting task on an hourlong nightly talk show, to focus less on managing the show and more on making it funny. And CBS’ upfront presentation frequently touted Corden after last year’s show was all about Colbert, someone CBS CEO Les Moonves didn’t mention at this year’s presentation.
But Corden, who tried to dodge the question as soon as Stern brought it up, insisted that his replacing Colbert is “never gonna happen.”
And he doesn’t think there’s any truth to rumors that Colbert’s job could be in jeopardy.
“I just think that stuff where people talk about those things on the internet. I don’t believe it,” Corden said. “I know it isn’t true because I know my boss and I know how much when he makes a decision, he believes in that decision.”
Further, Corden added that Colbert’s show “is working,” and “his ratings are up.”
And he argued, “These shows always take a while to find their feet,” Corden argued. And he called rumors of problems, “just stuff that people like to say.”
Even if, as Stern proposed in a hypothetical, Colbert’s hit by a car and dies, Corden isn’t sure he’d take a job as an 11:35 p.m. nightly talk show host.
“I honestly don’t think, ‘I’m a host of a television show and I should do this for 20 years.’ And I do think with those earlier slots, there is a thing in America where people look to those guys for things that they want and need and require from a host at those times when stuff happens and big things happen and all of those things. I do think there’s a different pressure and I don’t know if I want that to be my life,” Corden said. “I don’t know if America wants to listen to some British guy when shit happens. I think you look to Jimmy Kimmel and you look to Jimmy Fallon and you look to Stephen Colbert in the way that you looked to Jay Leno and David Letterman.”
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