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Craig Ferguson is stepping down as host of CBS’ Late Late Show, addressing his departure on Monday’s show.
“About two years ago, I had decided after eight years…that it was probably time for me to move on and do something else,” Ferguson said on Monday’s cold open. “And CBS came to me at that time and said, ‘Well, you could hang around and we’ll give you a fancy new studio and a podium for your gay robot skeleton and a stable for your horse and an invisible band behind a curtain. We’ll give you all the trappings of late?night television.’ ”
Ferguson agreed, extending his contract for two more years; it will be up at the end of the year. “At the end of this year, I will be stepping down as host of this show,” Ferguson said to the studio crowd, who reacted unhappily to the news, prompting him to joke, “Thanks everybody. That was quite convincing.”
Ferguson, who took over the Late Late Show franchise in 2005 from Craig Kilborn, has several projects in the works, including hosting Celebrity Name Game, a syndicated game show starting this fall and developing TV projects through his Green Mountain West production company. He was vague in addressing his future plans.
“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. “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I feel doing this show for 10 years, that’s enough.”
Ferguson emphasized that it was his decision to leave and that he wasn’t pushed out. “This is not Jay [Leno], Conan [O’Brien] of NBC,” he said, taking pointed jabs at how NBC handled the Tonight Show debacle in 2009-10. “This is not Dave [Letterman] and Jay all these years ago. It’s not that.”
He said that CBS has “been great with me. I have a good relationship with them. I’m still in business with them on other stuff, so please don’t picket them or go up to CBS with flaming torches, unless you’re angry at me, then, you know, get in line.”
Ferguson’s departure comes on the heels of a major late-night shift at CBS. On April 3, late-night veteran Letterman announced that he would be retiring from the Late Show in some time in 2015. Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert was announced as his replacement a week later.
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