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April 4, 2015- By Steven E. Greer
The new host of CBS’ Late Late Show, James Corden, is unknown to most Americans and, therefore, somewhat of a risky decision made by CEO Les Moonves. However, offsetting the risk is the fact that Mr. Corden is British, which is an American TV gimmick that works, and keeps with the British tone set by predecessor Craig Ferguson.
Mr. Corden and his team have decided to break the mold and discard the old stale formula for late night TV. They are trying all sorts of new stunts and styles for the show. For example, all three guests for the evening are brought out at the same time and sit on the couch together (like British TV). This can be awkward at times, since celebrities are so closely guarded and “handled” by their PR teams. On one occasion, the dimwitted soccer has-been David Beckham was placed on the same stage as actor Bob Odenkirk of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame. Beckham seemed to not even acknowledge Odenkirk as a worthy celebrity.
On the Thursday, April 2nd show, Corden took it on the road and broadcast the entire show from a random person’s house. It could have been a disaster, but it they went to a filmmaker’s house who had two LA-cool roommates. The homeowner just happened to be a big fan of musician Beck. Beck knocked on the door and became the musical act playing with his band in the living room.
It was groundbreaking TV. The risk paid off.
The first few shows of the Late Late Show were not too clever. They were emulating the Jimmy Fallon style on the Tonight Show: being overly nice and non-offensive, pandering to everyone. But they kept experimenting and seemed to have found their stride. It will be interesting to watch how the show develops this year.