Craig Ferguson announced his plans Monday to step down as host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” in December, which leaves the question: who will replace the comedian and serve as Stephen Colbert’s follow-up act in 2015?
Click through for some possible contenders.
With Chelsea Handler leaving her E! show “Chelsea Lately” (for a possible Netflix show), the latenight landscape is in dire need of a female-led program. Aisha Tyler could fill that hole. CBS would be keeping it in the family by bringing “The Talk” co-host from her daytime job to the “Late Late Show.” The stand-up comic also hosts The CW revival of the improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and the weekly podcast “Girl on Guy.” Tyler got her hosting stripes by making fun of talkshow hosts on E!’s “Talk Soup” back in 2001.
Neil Patrick Harris
The former “Daily Show” correspondent was approached by CBS last summer about possibly taking Ferguson’s slot or launching his own show on the network, but John Oliver ultimately chose the cable route. His weekly latenight HBO show “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” debuted Sunday to solid ratings. Oliver, who filled in for Jon Stewart as host of his Comedy Central show last summer, has a two-year contract with HBO and has said he enjoys the creative freedom the cabler allows him, but he could have a change of heart.
Joel McHale told Howard Stern Tuesday on his radio show that no one’s approached him yet about taking Ferguson’s seat. McHale also said “I don’t think I could even do it with ‘Community.’ I’m under contract. I don’t think legally I could.” But the perpetually almost-cancelled sitcom remains on the bubble as it enters its sixth season. After Tyler left “Talk Soup” in 2002, McHale took over the rebooted version of the clip show “The Soup” two years later. He may be ready to leave the sarcasm and satire behind after 10 years on E!. McHale’s following in the footsteps of current latenight hosts Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and Seth Meyers by hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.
Like Tyler, Wanda Sykes would be bringing some much-needed diversity to latenight. Her eponymous latenight Fox talkshow was canceled in less than six months, but she proved to be the right amount of edgy and observant on “The Wanda Sykes Show” and as a writer on “The Chris Rock Show.” Her sitcom “Wanda At Large” lasted two seasons, but she was a hit as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ sidekick for five seasons on CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” Maybe the perfect sidekick of her own (à la Geoff) would do the trick.
The talkshow host returned to latenight in September with the CBS-distributed syndicated “Arsenio Hall Show,” which has been renewed for a second season. He’s already in the CBS family, and execs there have said they admire Hall’s work ethic and finesse with the demands of a daily talkshow. His original syndie talker ran from 1989 to 1994 and was distributed by Paramount TV.
It’s high time for “The Daily Show’s” “most senior correspondent” to be in the spotlight. She surpassed Colbert in 2012 as “The Daily Show’s” longest-running correspondent (both active and all-time) so she has the experience and fearless interviewing skills to follow him in the 12:35 a.m. CBS slot. Her husband and fellow correspondent, Jason Jones, could make regular appearances on the show. Or perhaps they could join forces, making history as the very first latenight network co-hosts.
With “Parks and Recreation” likely calling it a wrap after next season, Amy Poehler might be ready to leave the NBC nest after 13 years for the rival network. The former “Saturday Night Live” star has experience on the “Weekend Update” desk (and would be going up against her former “Update” co-anchor Seth Meyers, who now hosts NBC’s “Late Night”) and her web series “Smart Girls at the Party.” Poehler and pal Tina Fey were such hits as Golden Globes hosts that they’ve been tapped to emcee the show for the next two years.