After three decades of success, news that its latest host James Corden was leaving immediately made fans question whether The Late Late Show was canceled.
The Late Late Show first aired in January 1995 with host Tom Snyder. He was followed by Craig Kilborn from 1999 until 2004, then Craig Ferguson took over in 2005 and hosted until 2014. Finally, Corden took over the reins in 2015 but its final episode aired on April 27, 2023.
Corden took the show to another level, launching his viral Carpool Karaoke series in 2015 with Mariah Carey, but it was guest Adele in 2016 that provided the year’s biggest moment on YouTube. In a subsequent episode when music legend Paul McCartney sat in the passenger seat, it earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a nomination for Outstanding Variety Special. “I just always felt he was made for” the segment, Corden told Variety of McCartney at the time. “Genuinely every day since that went out, somebody somewhere has talked to me about it. It’s rare to have a segment on a late-night talk show that would seep into the public consciousness in that way.”
For his contributions to the entertainment industry, in a career that would eventually include 22 Primetime Emmy nominations and the host of the 70th Tony Awards, Corden was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015.
The Late Late Show was canceled after 30 years after James Corden announced his departure in April 2022. “It’s been it’s a really hard decision to leave because I’m so immensely proud of the show,” Corden told Deadline at the time. “I’m thrilled to be extending [for a year]. I always thought I’d do it for five years and then leave, and then I stayed on. I’ve really been thinking about it for a long time, thinking whether there might be one more adventure.”
In a press release about the show’s cancelation, the network said it would “celebrate the incredible groundbreaking impact James Corden has made on late night television,” the release about the finale stated, revealing “the last Last Late Late Show” would also air on April 27, 2023.
James Corden left The Late Late Show for various reasons, but he said the main explanation is that he and his wife, Julia Carey, want their children to experience life in London after being raised for some of their life in the United States. He also wants to finish on a high rather than have the show become stale and past its expiration date, so to speak.
“Look it’s not easy in any way to walk away from something that is so, I mean, I’ll never work in a better environment than the one I work in now,” Corden explained on The Drew Barrymore show on January 3, 2023. “Nothing about leaving the show was to do with not enjoying it. I love it.” He continued: “But the truth is it became a very easy decision because I always knew it was an adventure and I never, ever considered it to be the final destination.”
For Corden, the moment of realization came during a conversation with his son while he was filming the Prime Video drama Mammals. “One day I was filming on a Sunday and I came downstairs, it was about 6 a.m. and my son, who was 10 at the time, was sat on the stairs and he said, ‘Are you working today?’ and I said, ‘I am,’ and he said, ‘I thought, well it’s Sunday,’ and I said, ‘I know, buddy, but this schedule’s just all over the place. We just got to get it done because we only have a tiny amount of time before we have to go back and do the show,’ and his face just kind of dropped,” Corden recalled. “I got in the car and I called my wife Jules and I said, ‘I’ve realized, best case scenario, we have six more summers where Max even remotely wants to be around us and I cannot waste another one.’”
Corden announced he was leaving The Late Late Show in April 2022 and that his final show would be in the spring of 2023. It was later revealed that his final episode would air on Thursday, April 27, 2023, and as part of the final episode, he would do one last Carpool Karaoke with, fittingly, Adele. “During their second Carpool together – and Corden’s last one as host of The Late Late Show – Adele surprises her longtime friend at home in the morning, waking him up and offering to drive the late-night host to work,” according to a press announcement from the show, per CNN. “Once in the car, Adele then turns the tables on Corden, asking him about past Carpools, pivotal moments in their friendship (including the time he tried, unsuccessfully, to prank her), and even a song she wrote that was inspired by an emotional conversation they shared.”
“I will be a mess on that last show. I will cry my eyes out,” he continued with Barrymore. “But I will know, at my core, that the best thing for me and the best thing for us as a family is to put down some roots in London. … And it feels absolutely right in every single way.”
Speaking with ET in May 2022, he told Nischelle Turner that the timing for his time on the show to end felt right. “When I took the job—firstly, I didn’t think we’d be on the air, like, six months later. Then as soon as it seemed like we’d be on for a little while, I was very very determined that the show wouldn’t overstay its welcome in any way and that we would always know when to leave. That we’d always know when to go out on top because I think that’s really important.”
James Corden’s last episode of The Late Late Show was Thursday, April 27, 2023. “I sit here now today with nothing but love, gratitude, and pride. This show is everything I ever wanted,” Corden said in his final address, reflecting on his time living in the US and the changes he’s seen over the past eight years, including a global pandemic and a tumultuous Trump presidency. “I’ve watched divisions grow. I’ve felt a sense of negativity bubble and boil over, and I implore you to remember what America signifies to the rest of the world: It has always been a place of optimism and joy. Yes, it has flaws. So many. But show me a country that doesn’t,” he said.
He then delivered an emotional appeal to his American viewers as he prepared to leave for his UK home: “I implore you to remember what America signifies to the rest of the world. My entire life, it has always been a place of optimism and joy,” he said. “Look for the light. Look for the joy, because if you do, it’s out there. And that’s all this show has ever been about.”
He continued: “Just because somebody disagrees with you, it doesn’t make them bad or evil. We are all more the same than we are different,” he added. “There are so many people who are trying to stoke those differences, and we have to try our best to look for the light. Look for the joy because it’s out there.”
In a video message, President Joe Biden thanked Corden for the joy he brought to homes across America. “After a day working for me at the White Hosue, I’m surprised you lasted eight years in any show,” Biden said in the clip. “Thank you for all the joy you brought to shows across America. And a special thanks for never asking me to sing in a car, because I can’t sing. We’ll miss you, pal.”
The farewell episode also aired a previously-released Carpool Karaoke with Adele in an emotional last moment of the segment. Tearfully, Corden confessed to Adele that he’d “miss everything” about the show. “I’m really gonna miss Los Angeles. I love it here. It’s been a brilliant adventure,” he said. “But I’m just so certain that it’s time for us as a family, with people getting older and people that we miss, it’s time to go home.”
Apparently, no one is replacing James Corden and The Late Late Show will cease to exist after three decades, according to Deadline. “No one would comment, but we hear that a reboot of @midnight, a series that ran for 600 episodes on Comedy Central from 2013-17, has been chosen for the 12:30 a.m. time slot currently occupied by The Late Late Show,” the site reported in February 2023. Stephen Colbert has reportedly signed on as executive producer.
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