James Corden said his final goodbye to The Late Late Show last Friday, April 28, bringing an end to the long-running late-night talk show, which first began airing in January 1995 with host Tom Snyder.
However, according to sources cited by Los Angeles Magazine, the Corden-fronted show was losing CBS as much as $20 million a year. The report states that The Late Late Show cost the network between $60 million to $65 million a year to produce but was netting less than $45 million.
“It was simply not sustainable,” an executive allegedly told ex-CNN anchor Brian Stelter, who wrote the LA Magazine article. “CBS could not afford [Corden] anymore.”
“Even if Corden had wanted to stay in his seat, there was bound to be a late-night reckoning.” Stetler continued. “He would have faced a multimillion-dollar pay cut or painful staff reductions or both, according to two sources who worked with him closely.”
The final episode aired last Friday, alongside a prime-time Carpool Karaoke special that featured appearances from Top Gun: Maverick star Tom Cruise and multi-Grammy winner Adele. The final in-studio guests included Will Ferrell and Harry Styles, who helped Corden destroy his desk with a sledgehammer.
Corden’s decision to leave the Late Late Show was announced in April 2022 when he revealed he had extended his contract for one last year. On Friday’s special, the late-night host told his close friend Adele that it was “time to go back home [to the U.K.].”
“I’ll miss everything,” he said. “I think I underestimated how many friends I’d make doing this. More than anything, I will just miss going into work with my friends every day. And I’m really gonna miss Los Angeles. I love it. It’s been a brilliant adventure.”
As for what will be replacing The Late Late Show, it was previously reported that CBS would be rebooting the old Comedy Central format @midnight. Stephen Colbert is said to be executive producing the series, which Chris Hardwick previously hosted — there is no word yet on who will be hosting the revival.
@midnight originally aired on Comedy Central from 2013 to 2017 and ran for 600 episodes. Instead of the usual late-night talk show format, the show was presented as a panel game, with three guests competing in Internet-themed improv games. The show won an Emmy in 2015 for Outstanding Social TV Experience.