Craig Ferguson announced yesterday that he will bow out as host of CBS’ The Late Late Show in December.
“At the end of this year I will be stepping down as the host of the show,” he told his shocked studio audience. “Then I’ll go and do something else, probably I’m thinking carpentry. But I haven’t made my mind up yet.”
This comes just a few weeks after David Letterman, who’s show airs before Ferguson’s daily, late night, announced his retirement as well. Stephen Colbert was soon named Letterman’s replacement, to the consternation of some who hoped that a woman, or a personality from one of many under-represented groups (specifically African American) would be given the opportunity, and, in effect, add some much needed *color* to the late night talk-show space.
Although I wasn’t surprised by the Colbert pick. But might CBS execs consider replacing Ferguson with a woman or a host from another so-called *minority* group? Or will their choice be yet another middle-aged white man, continuing long-standing trends?
My money is on the latter; but maybe (just maybe) we’ll be surprised by CBS’ eventual selection.
You’ll be already aware that, after Jay Leno, longtime host of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, wrapped up 22 years of headlining the iconic late-night show last year, he’s been replaced by Jimmy Fallon, who was, at the time, host of his own show on NBC, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a slot that eventually went to Fallon’s Saturday Night Live cohort, Seth Adam Meyers, another middle-aged white man.
So, the obvious questions on many minds are, who will take over Ferguson’s now vacated Late Night slot on CBS, and whether the network will take some chances in its selection process?
Of course, media outlets have been tossing around names of potential comedians who might be candidates for that late night slot, and, not surprisingly, just about every name I’ve read has belonged to a candidate who is white and male, with a woman or two mentioned – Chelsea Handler’s name especially, has been coming up since a replacement for Letterman was in conversation, and continues to do so.
I’ll admit that I never watched Ferguson. Actually, I don’t watch much of the late night talk-show circuit anymore, like I used to in the 1990s, when Arsenio Hall seemingly brightened up the space a bit, with his unprecedented show. So, quite frankly, whether Ferguson should even be replaced, is a question I have. Maybe CBS should just put some other kind of programming in that time slot – after all, it’s no secret that the audiences for these late-night shows has been declining over the years, and it’s even more pronounced in the hour that follows – when Ferguson’s show airs.
Although I’m sure the audience for the talkies that broadcast during that 12:35 hour are definite, and I can only assume that CBS will continue its late night tradition and replace Ferguson with another host.
I thought I’d take a quick survey to see what black personalities (male and female) you guys think should be given the opportunity, in light of the fact that the late night talk-show circuit (on broadcast network TV specifically – CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX primarily) isn’t exactly swimming with black (or female) hosts.
I mentioned Arsenio Hall earlier, but I’m sure he’s content with his 11pm time slot. To move to the 12:35pm hour – even if it’s on a major broadcast network like CBS – could be a step backwards. So I’ll count him out.
So who would be on your short list?
To get you started, I’ll throw out a few possible names: Damon Wayans, Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, Chris Tucker, Aisha Tyler, Affion Crockett, Wayne Brady, and W. Kamau Bell…
It’ll likely have to be someone with some name recognition (no matter what skin color or gender they are), so I don’t think any younger up-and-comers, still paying their dues currently, will be up for the job. Although, in an age when YouTube is creating stars practically overnight, some with huge followings (in the millions), about as much as a TV late night talk show would draw, anything is possible.
I think it could be a launching pad for someone who’s looking to move up in the late-night talk show space, so an established veteran actor or comedian, likely won’t be interested.
What do you guys think?