‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ Will Die the Way It Lived — Sucking Up to Celebrities

Corden revealed the slate of silly celebrity segments he has planned for his farewell tour
‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ Will Die the Way It Lived — Sucking Up to Celebrities

We are officially in the last month of The Late Late Show with James Corden — I hope you’ve been keeping count on your Carpool Karaoke™ advent calendar.

With just twelve episodes left in his eight-year run on The Late Late Show, Corden and his crew revealed the farewell festivities they have planned for the series finale last night at PaleyFest in Los Angeles, California. Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston moderated a panel that included Corden, bandleader Reggie Watts, and a handful of The Late Late Show’s executive producers. During the talk, the panel revealed that the last few weeks will be celebrated with three “Carpool Karaoke” segments, one “Crosswalk the Musical,” and a very special “Take a Break” segment featuring the famous-for-being-famous Kardashian family.

The final “Carpool Karaoke” will air on the night of the finale when Corden will be joined by action superstar Tom Cruise in an “epic musical performance of The Lion King.” We’ll be seeing Craig Ferguson’s face in the stars that night — long live the king.

“It’s everything I ever wanted this show to be,” Corden proudly proclaimed after a reel of his “greatest hits” on The Late Late Show introduced the panel. “It feels incredibly strange and it’s an unnatural feeling to walk away from something that you love so much. It’s not right, because you’re having such a great time. But at the same time, I’m so certain it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s important to go out in the manner that we came in.”

He’s certainly correct that The Late Late Show’s dying gasps will accurately reflect his time on the series — since Corden took up the desk in 2015, the late-night program has been a montage of silly, social-media-friendly, celebrity-obsessed segments designed more for clickability in bite-sized clips on YouTube and Twitter than for a cohesive and contained late-night show in the more traditional format.

And, since Corden first started, that’s been the point — the dawn of streaming and the demise of attention spans has been disadvantageous to the late-night medium. However, throwing an internet-friendly extravaganza of overexposed celebrities humoring Corden in some two-minute half-baked game show put The Late Late Show in the online conversation and kept Corden in the chair. Nobody thought that Corden forcing Dave Grohl to guess what song he’s supposed to be playing as he slams on a toy keyboard was substantive discussion — least of all Grohl — but the formula of “A-List Celebrity + Silly Challenge + Yelling” was a tried-and-true, search-engine-optimizing guarantee of relevance for eight straight years.

With Corden’s departure comes the end of The Late Late Show itself as CBS gears up to replace the once-great series with a revival of the internet-themed panel game show @midnight, executive produced by Stephen Colbert.  We'll just do what we've done the whole time: scream alone in our car.

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