“The Craig Ferguson Show” is set to bow Feb. 27 on the satellite radio service. The show is described as a mix of long-form interviews, guest visits, viewer call-in segments, sketches, observations from Ferguson and “little story pieces” of the type that Ferguson loved from listening to the U.K. radio version of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in his youth.
The former host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” promises the program will be “format-free” and only feature guests that interest him rather than celebrities with an agent to plug a project.He has enlisted two former producers of “Late Late Show” to help him with the SiriusXM program.
“I like the idea of trying to do it a little different and a little strange,” Ferguson told Variety. SiriusXM has built a radio studio in Ferguson’s home in Los Angeles (“I’ll have a 15-second commute,” he said), and he will also be able to take the show on the road as needed. He intends to bring the show to New York in March.
Ferguson left “Late Late Show” in December 2014 after a 10-year run that earned the Scottish-born hyphenate a Peabody kudo and a devoted fan following. Ferguson was known for being by turns unpredictably zany, biting and entirely heartfelt in his monologues and guest interviews.
During the past three years he’s hosted the daytime syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game,” which ends in March after failing to earn a fourth-season pickup, and the History panel program “Join or Die.” Ferguson landed back-to-back Daytime Emmy wins for game show host for his work on “Name Game.”
With the SiriusXM show, Ferguson said he’ll be free to take on what interests him on any given day without having to worry about having to appeal to a broad range of viewers. SiriusXM at present has 31.3 million subscribers. “Craig Ferguson” will air on the Comedy Greats channel, reflecting SiriusXM’s recent push to beef up its roster of comedy programming.
“I’m only making this show for people who already understand and like me,” Ferguson said. “It’s kind of an experiment. It’s a two-year deal. If I like them and they like me, we’ll do more.”
SiriusXM has vowed to give Ferguson control of the show, nor does he have to worry about network censorship in the pay-radio realm.
“Craig Ferguson is a great broadcasting talent with a singular style,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and chief content officer. “Throughout his impressive, award-winning career, Craig’s irreverent charm has won over millions of Americans, while proving himself a true original.”
Ferguson said he has missed the opportunity to comment on headline news and pop culture trends since he signed off of “Late Late Show.”
“It’s not going to be an overtly political show, but the world is overtly political right now so there will be a lot of that,” Ferguson said. “After the election, the job of a comedian is to speak truth to power — or speak alt-facts to power.”
Ferguson has no regrets about ending his run on the “Late Late Show.” He acknowledges that his brand of observational and anecdotal humor — and bizarro sketch bits — was not a great fit for network late-night.
“The shows have either become super-political or super-glitzy show business,” he said. “I didn’t fit into either camp particularly well.”
Since leaving CBS, Ferguson has been a regular on the comedy tour circuit. He is also close to finishing his second novel, “The Sphinx of the Mississippi,” and his Green Mountain West production banner has a handful of projects in development.
Ferguson is looking forward to the renewed discipline of delivering a daily entertainment program, albeit in a new medium.
“I like being back in the game without being back in the game,” he said.