CBS is losing yet another late-night host. After a 10-year stretch with “The Late Late Show,” Craig Ferguson has announced his plans to step down as host.
Ferguson’s announcement comes less than a month after David Letterman broke the news to his studio audience that he would be retiring from the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
NPR TV critic Eric Deggans joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss Ferguson’s announcement and what this decision might mean for both CBS and the future of late night television.
JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:
Well, from the world of Bar Mitzvahs to the news of late night TV changes.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE LATE LATE SHOW")
CRAIG FERGUSON: At the end of this year, I will be stepping down as the host of this show.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Oh.
FERGUSON: Thanks, everybody. That was quite convincing. I'll be stepping down at then of this year in December, and then I'll go and do something else. Probably, I'm thinking carpentry.
HOBSON: That is Craig Ferguson who's been hosting "The Late Late Show" on CBS for 10 years. He made that announcement last night, less than a month after David Letterman broke the news that he would be retiring from "The Late Show." NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans joins us. And Eric, did Craig Ferguson give a reason for leaving? Is this related to Letterman?
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: He didn't give a reason during the show, but he has since talked to Variety, the trade magazine, and has said that he wanted to leave the show before the show got to the point where it was onerous, or where it wasn't fun to do it anymore. And, in fact, he said that he had talked to CBS about leaving his show before anyone knew David Letterman was going to do what he did.
And so when Letterman came forward to announce his retirement, Craig Ferguson had to actually keep his mouth shut for a few weeks so that CBS could kind of deal with that, and David could have his time in the sun. And now Craig Ferguson is coming forward to say I don't feel passed over. I don't feel like I'm leaving because I didn't get David Letterman's job. I was planning to do this all along.
And I visited his show back in 2007, and he told me back then that he really did not see himself doing that show for a really long time. And I understand that they had to sort of convince him to re-up his contract when it was up just a few years ago, anyway.
HOBSON: So the question is now: Who might replace him? There was some talk of a number of people before it came out that Stephen Colbert was going to replace Letterman. But who do we think might be in the running for Craig Ferguson's job?
DEGGANS: Yeah, you could take all of those names that people said, you know, for David Letterman, and just put them on Craig Ferguson now. But I know that there are people that I would like to see. I've written about this and talked about this on NPR before.
I'd like to see CBS consider somebody who's not a white male for that job, because we have about 20 late night shows out there, if you count stuff on the weekends and public television, and there's only two shows that are hosted by non-white people, and only show that's hosted by a woman. So it would nice to try some counter-programming and do something a little different.
I like Samantha Bee from "The Daily Show." I like Aisha Tyler. And my fantasy would be Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kind of switching off. That would be wonderful.
HOBSON: It would be great, although I don't know what the chances of that are. They both seem...
DEGGANS: Slim and none.
HOBSON: Yeah, right, exactly.
DEGGANS: Slim and none, and slim left the building.
HOBSON: You know, just, you mentioned Samantha Bee. Let's listen to a clip of her here on "The Daily Show."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW")
SAMANTHA BEE: Why have one job for $15 an hour when you could have two jobs for $7.50 an hour?
PETER SCHIFF: Would you rather do that, or pay twice as much for your burger?
BEE: I do like to taste the tears of poverty in my milkshakes.
HOBSON: So, there she is. She's talking to Peter Schiff from Euro Pacific Capital. But we'll see, Eric. Maybe she'll be the replacement for Craig Ferguson. Eric Deggans, NPR TV critic, thanks so much.
DEGGANS: Glad to be here.
HOBSON: And from NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE AND NOW, which is a production of NPR - I'm saying it all in reverse order, here.
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
That's all right. That's okay.
HOBSON: We're in association with the BBC World Service.
YOUNG: You're good.
HOBSON: There we go. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.