Craig Ferguson to Leave ‘Late Late Show’ in December

Craig Ferguson will step down as host of CBS’ “ The Late Late Show” in December when his contract with the network expires after nearly a decade as David Letterman’s companion in the 12:35 a.m. slot.

Ferguson broke the news to his studio audience at the 5 p.m. PT taping of Monday’s edition of “Late Late Show.” In a statement issued by the network he quipped: “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much.”

EARLIER: Stephen Colbert to Replace David Letterman on ‘Late Show’

Ferguson’s decision comes less than a month after Letterman announced his intention to retire next year, and about two weeks after CBS tapped Stephen Colbert as his successor. Ferguson’s move was not a surprise given CBS’ decision to turn elsewhere for Letterman’s replacement. Ferguson’s last contract with CBS ensured him a windfall payout of an estimated $8 million-$10 million once the Eye opted against giving him “The Late Show” slot.

Ferguson took the helm of “Late Late Show” on Jan. 3, 2005. He was an unusual choice for a network latenight show — an actor, writer and one-time rock musician with a thick Scottish brogue and genuinely zany sense of humor. But as he found his sea legs in his first year on air, Ferguson carved a niche for a show anchored by his nightly monologue — which favored observational humor and anecdotes over one-liner jokes.

Ferguson’s view of America through the wide eyes of an immigrant helped him stand out from the rest of the latenight crowd. His openness about his life and his struggles with substance abuse, his love of his adopted homeland and his extended family endeared him to a hard-core group of fans. The emotional eulogy he delivered on-air in January 2006 following the death of his father drew attention to his unique style and was a turning point for the show.

SEE ALSO: Craig Ferguson Congratulates ‘Lovely’ Stephen Colbert on ‘Late Show’ Gig

In 2004, CBS and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production banner, which owned “The Late Late Show,” held a bake-off among comics and actors to fill the chair left vacant by Craig Kilborn. Ferguson was championed over such candidates D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black as as a breath of fresh air by producer Peter Lassally, a veteran of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” who remains exec producer of “Late Late Show.”

CBS came on board as a co-production partner of “Late Late Show” two years ago as relations between Ferguson and Woldwide Pants became strained. Ferguson was never known to have had a close relationship with Letterman, despite their mutual friend in Lassally. Michael Naidus has served as Ferguson’s producer for most of his run. The oddball touches to the show in recent years have included robot skeleton sidekick Geoff, who wears a name tag sticker from “The Price is Right” (which tapes near Ferguson’s show on the CBS TV City lot) and a horse dubbed Secretariat that are regulars on the program.

Ferguson earned a Peabody Award in 2010 for a 2009 interview he conducted with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In addition to the nightly program, he has continued to tour as a standup and penned books, including memoir “American On Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot” and the novel “Between the Bridge and the River.”

EARLIER: Craig Ferguson Talks Latenight Moves, New Game Show at NATPE

He was nominated for an Emmy for hosting “Late Late Show” in 2006, and he earned a Grammy nom this year for his comedy album “I’m Here to Help.”

Even before the Letterman-Colbert shuffle became official, Ferguson telegraphed his restlessness by taking a gig as host of the syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game,” which bows in the fall from distrib Debmar-Mercury. His CBS-based Green Mountain West production banner has grown busier during the past two years, developing unscripted projects for Discovery (“Naked After Dark”), Science Channel (“I F*cking Love Science”) and Comedy Central (“Porn Project”).

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 86

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Ripped1x says:

    It would be great to see Craig Ferguson take over Jon Stewart’s spot on The Daily Show.

  2. jbk51691 says:

    You will be missed Craig. Bring your tour back to Seattle we are waiting for you.

  3. Debbie C. Blanchard says:

    Ive looked forward to seeing you every nite after Letterman, its not going to be the same now :-( Your cheerful demeaner & sly comments were well recieved in Seattle& I wanted to know U more, darn it U Scottish fool! (U could tell U & Letterman were !@#$/^&?: tired of the CBS bullshit!! Thank U:'( claire

  4. reeync says:

    Heartbroken that Craig Ferguson is leaving! He can put more humor into just a twitch of an eyebrow and a subtle look on his face than most comics can do with pages of jokes. His weirdness is truly wonderful, contemporary, and what we need at the end of a long, hard day. I can’t see anyone truly replacing him.

  5. Bill says:

    Again the idiots in this business SCREW UP BIGTIME – Craig should have gotten the Late Show or moved to the 11:30 Eastern slot. But no they do the worst. As said earlier – I’ll be getting a lot more sleep.

  6. kathyg says:

    I had given up on late night TV talk shows until Craig Ferguson came on the air. He’s been and is marvelous. When I had heard that Colbert had been chosen to replace Letterman I found it odd. Yes Colbert has his funny, but his humor is very specific and ascerbic, and he’s not renown for his ability to emotionally connect with people. When you see celebrities and authors etc on with Craig it’s obvious that many of them actually watch him and there is mutual affection and respect, as a result the interviews while having a light note always, also had a depth of sincerity that was unique. When Jimmy Fallon took the Tonight Show he was compared to Johnny Carson in that he has a wide range of talents (acting, music, comedy). If CBS had been smart they would have realized they also needed a multi-talented person – i.e. Ferguson and one that appeals to a more intellectual audience slightly less total pop culture market. Colbert gets old and after the initial curiosity wears off he will fail miserably against the dual Jimmy’s Fallon and Kimmel.

    I hope bright things are ahead for Craig Ferguson as we will all miss him. The one silver lining is guess I can go to bed at 11:30 pm now and get more sleep. Thanks CBS!

  7. Donna says:

    Watching Craig Ferguson has been my favourite show and I will miss him. Nobody will be able to replace the handsome scotsman in my eyes! Wish you all the best Craig!

  8. robert dow says:

    craig has been proven to be the best of the best. uniquely honest and well like by all. he will succeed it whatever he desires.good luck craig,though you probably won’t need proud there is no one who could reach your level. thanks for the memories

  9. Oh dear. If he needs anyone to ‘consciously re-couple” with… LET ME KNOW :)

  10. duane barringer says:

    It shall leave a vacum, although i do like seth meyers..I wonder who’ll replace him or if they’ll scuttle the whole late night talk show. At least Craig got the golden parachute..good on ya….and vote for a free Scotland!

  11. Donna Flemens says:

    Tell me it ain’t so! Craig you have become an institution! NO….I didn’t mean a nuthouse!! You will be greatly missed. Late night is falling apart! Best of luck in your future endeavors. Love you and your cohorts so much!!! Donna

  12. Judi Fletcher says:

    Nooooooooooooo! Puhleeeeease don’t go. On the other hand I can go to bed earlier. Nevertheless thanks for all those entertaining years. Best Luck.

  13. Shelley says:

    Well that just spoilt my day, so sorry to be losing Craig (and his witty, quick comeback sidekick Geoff), I hope its something he wants and he’s doing it to move on to better things. Thanks for the laughs mate, I’ve enjoyed you so much, and the penguin joke (for keeping the ladies satisfied) the other night was a cracker. You’ll do great wherever you go, but I’ll miss you every night. Thanks.

  14. Patti says:

    I would wait until Craig came on to view CBS. Doesn’t anyone know how humorous, sincere, and excellent this man is as an comedian. You can be in a very bad mood because of daily occurences and then you watch his program and everything that was bothering you before is washed away. His expertise lies in making one laugh; cordial to his guests; while always recognizing what a great day it is in America! He has been making everyone laugh without a band and fully equipped stage but still continuing to fulfill a contract to a wrongfully network of not moving him into Dave’s slot. I have viewed the newest host on different stations and always find myself waiting for Craig. CBS, you have made a big mistake and hopefully Craig’s replacement will find himself/herself in last place on the viewing ratings. Blessings to you Craig on your new endeavors.

  15. Cowcharge says:

    Aww, crap. Now I won’t get to play my late-night TV game any more. The one where I tried to time it perfectly, so that I avoided seeing even one second of letterman but missed not one second of Ferguson.

  16. Rene Schultz says:

    I have watched him faithfully for years and would always make me laugh! His wit,foreign charm; interviews off the chart at times,have sent me reeling at times,but I have always come back to his show!
    I will miss him on the show-wow 2 in one year? What are these networks thinking??What will happen to Geoff and the horse??

  17. Michelle Ayer says:

    WE LOVE YOU CRAIG!!!! Please let us know where you go, cuz we will be watching that station!!!!

  18. Michelle Ayer says:

    This a bummer, I love Craig!!!! He should have been offered Dave’s job!!! Bye! Bye! CBS Late night!! You just lost the only reason to stay tuned!!!!!!!

  19. CNU says:

    Wow I didn’t see a single dissenting post saying they didn’t like Craig, seems everyone loves him as much as I do!

  20. Mallory says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the obvious replacement choice should be Jon Stewart? :P

  21. scotiatom says:

    Bless him He used to deliver my milk back home in Scotland.

  22. Love Craig! Hope he will be somewhere that we can still watch him. He’s definitely one of a kind!

    • Randy and June says:

      Many a bleary morning was spent at our respective works because we couldn’t turn off Craig Ferguson and get a sane amount of sleep. Now that work is no longer a concern for us, we hear that the Late Late Show will no longer be with us come December. Shame on you, CBS. Craig Ferguson’s show was the last CBS show we watch, probably the last ever. Craig, be sure we will follow you wherever you go. Love and luck go with you.

  23. escurio0990 says:

    Reblogged this on Bleed. and commented:
    Nooooo! I love Craig Ferguson. He is so funny! I’m really sad to see him leave CBS. I watched his show constantly.

  24. Patrick says:

    it truly is a bad day in America, everybody

  25. Alex Haropulos says:

    Craig, we hardly knew ye. The only nightime TV I ever bothered to watch, and will watch no more! May you either go on to bigger and better places, or, alternatively, take your severence nut and scamper off on your own.

    You will be greatly missed.

    Best wishes.

  26. Joanie Wilson says:

    Craig was awesome. He cracked me up with his funny antics. He was better than all the other late night host. He is sure going to be missed. CBS is going to lose on this one.

  27. Joanne Lee says:

    Craig has made me laugh more then anyone I know (even when my hair was falling out due to chemo). With all the alcoholism in my family I have enjoyed watching Craig with my twenty something sons knowing that they were seeing a great example of how you can be crazy, have fun and be sober all at the same time. Makes me sad that he’s leaving, but as someone else said, come 2015 I will probably be getting more sleep.

  28. Truly sad to see my personal favorite late night talk show host leave :( It wont be the same without you, you late night douche

    • Donna M. Burck says:

      I am so sad! He was my favorite late night show host! I never cared for Letterman, Leno, O’Brien, or really, anyone else in late night. I saw Craig on, “Hot in Cleveland” recently, and he was very good, though. I certainly do hope he will continue to be on television somewhere!

  29. Robin. says:

    That’s UnAmerican, Unconstitutional, and an unwarranted adoption of children that aren’t your’s to manage on Internship day wit’ an ittty bitty sticker that is not in any way referencing Anonimity

  30. Jane Gutherie says:

    WTH – I don’t believe Craig Ferguson is leaving without SOME bad feelings about NOT being “appointed” Letterman’s replacement. Can’t blame him. But then just who does have any type of relationship with Letterman? CF deserves a helluva lot more than what the EYE has been dealing out to him. What a talented humorous man he is. CBS will be hurting come December.

    • Nellie Jones says:

      I will miss Craig although it’s true I will be getting more sleep. But I believe he’s been honest to his fans in his description of what he will be moving on to. He tried a while ago to stop (or cut back) on the blue comedy routine but the attempt seemed half hearted. And it’s no secret that he can get a bigger paycheck from the standup comedy circuit. So his recent “Not like any other late night show” signs were a pretty clear signal that he wasn’t willing to modify his comedy style to fit the 11:30 pm time slot. I do hope he stays on TV in a way that his ordinary fans (who don’t get to Vegas all that often – or ever) can see him. Best of life to you, Craig. You lift the spirits of a great audience that I’m happy to be a part of, and that makes our daily bleary eyed burden a little easier to bear. Thank you.

  31. lola says:

    I found his lovely wife Megan here they make a nice couple, wondering what he’ll do now??

  32. TrudyAnn Willis says:

    Craig is ONLY late night talk show I watch…His comedy is refreshing, always makesme giggle!

  33. Dave In RI says:

    Typical network BS. They don’t have a clue what to do with true talent!

  34. Mark Isenberg says:

    All the nice comments about the soon to end Craig Ferguson era of 1237am or whenever at CBS forget something. Few watched. Just 1.5 million. He will go on to do a silly syndicated TV Game Show and if his relationship with David Letterman weakened,at least Dave gets a little credit via Worldwide Pants producing it for as long as it did. Craig is not always easy to watch but different from Dave who at least has a well lit studio theatre compared to Craig’s in the CBS complex in LA. Craig is funnier than Dave but it takes a while beyond Geoff and Secretariat to get the full comedic picture and like I started,not many stick with it till the interviews begin after 1am. Craig will be fine regardless and we kind of know how sad Dave is ending at age 67 with almost no real humor left including Paul’s half effort to boost his spirits.

  35. I’m sure gonna miss him. The picture of Paul McCartney. Geoff and Secretariat. Those musical cold openers that they stopped doing but were flipping hilarious. Those monologues that weren’t for jokes, but were genuine and touching on a level that no other late night douche could achieve. OH NO! The Puppets. AW! No MORE SID! NO MORE CROCKADILLIO! I’m sad all over again.

  36. Dee says:

    I see that next year I’ll be getting a little more sleep. I enjoy Mr Ferguson’s program so much, I was willing to sacrifice some sleep to watch. I doubt CBS will be able to do better.

  37. Mike says:

    Would Conan be interested in that timeslot? I don’t think CBS will want to wait a year for his contract with TBS to expire though. I don’t think a Colbert/Conan late night duo is a bad idea.

  38. JennaUSA says:

    More than anything I’ll REALLY miss the interviews. No one could riff with and relate to their guests the way he could. Just such a wonderful wit. Best of luck to him.

  39. Ikeaboy says:

    Too bad, best late show host around.

  40. xxlsurgelxx says:

    That sucks. Only late night show I watch.

  41. Debbie Forrester says:

    Hate to hear he is leaving—-I always watched ’cause he was so funny and charming. Going to miss him and his sense of humor.

  42. Joely Hrd says:

    I am so sad he is leaving! I watch his show every night, I just heard watching the show tonight and thought it was a joke! Late night tv’s loss definitely! I can’t stand any of the other late night shows, guess I will have to find something else to watch now. So sorry to see you go Craig :-(

  43. Felix says:

    I’m SO glad Craig didn’t get Dave’s spot because the CBS suits would’ve made him water down his show they way NBC did when Conan moved down from his time slot. In the end it was a disaster. Craig says he wants to move on but c’mon man, have you seen his acting credits? Can he survive just by doing standup? I just hope he’s taking the windfall and moving to FX or something because I laugh more during one of his shows than I ever did for Leno and even Dave the past few years. CBS probably wants some white-bread bland idiot to copy Seth Meyers. I’ll make that road trip with Craig and Geoff any day. I miss them already. Keep it classy til Christmas. *ahem*

  44. I’ll miss his show sooo much! I hope he doesn’t stay away from TV too long!!

  45. Brenda says:

    I absolutely love watching Craig and his zany humor .I have never laughed so hard at any other late night entertainer .They’re making a big mistake losing him .I shall not be watching after he leaves .

  46. Zippy says:

    It was bound to happen. You can tell he was getting bored with it but he was still the most entertaining guy in late night TV by far.

  47. I am done with late shows Ctaig Ferguson was the only reason I watched his show. I cannot believe they put stupid colber instead of Craig. They can kiss their shows bye-bye

  48. gregory says:

    He’s a real hoot! I hope this is not the last we see of him

  49. hoeech says:

    Okay folks! It’s time to start a letter-writing campaign to keep Craig on. We brought back Star Trek. We brought back Family Guy. We brought back Chuck. We’re gonna bring back Craig!


    • Scott says:

      Didn’t work for Firefly though, did it?

      • Jane Gutherie says:

        Hmmm Scott, are you talking Firefly the short-lived TV series or Firefly the band? Anyhoo, ya win a few, ya lose a few – The Late Show with Craig Ferguson is WINNING. Besides, we wouldn’t have Castle now would we? (if you’re referring to the TV show)

      • Anonymous says:

        Ouch. That one was below the belt. :(

  50. Ben says:

    I’m going to miss you Craig. Thank you for everything. You made me laugh so much over the years. So sad that your leaving.

More TV News from Variety