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James Corden calls leaving ‘The Late Late Show’ his ‘hardest decision’

James Corden attends the 60th Annual Grammys at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Jan. 28, 2018. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
4 min

For more than 1,000 nights, James Corden has opened “The Late Late Show” as the band played and scenes of the Los Angeles skyline filled the screen from CBS’s studio.

Viewers will only see him in that role for one more year.

On Thursday, Deadline first reported that the British comedian will be leaving the show by summer 2023. Hours later, Corden broke the news to his viewers.

“So, before we go to break, I’ve some news of my own to share with you,” Corden said during his opening monologue. “Seven-and-a-half years ago, I started hosting this show and there’s no other way to put it — it has changed my life. I love it. I love all the people that work here. I am so proud of what we have achieved. It’s been beyond my wildest, wildest dreams.”

The 43-year-old went on to say that he had extended his contract with the network as the audience cheered and clapped.

“But wait, hang on,” Corden joked. “Wait. I appreciate it. That’s only really half the story on this one. The other half is, the sadder news is … this will be my last year hosting.”

“Awwww,” the crowd replied in unison.

“Don’t you dare!” Corden said, pointing toward the audience. The studio erupted in laughter.

Craig Ferguson hosted the show for 10 years before Corden took over in March 2015. Since then, Corden has thrown “the ultimate late night after party,” featuring a mix of celebrity guests, “edgy” musical performances, games and sketches, according to the show’s website. Corden revamped the show, which airs weeknights at 12:30 a.m. ET, with segments like “Carpool Karaoke,” “Drop the Mic,” “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” and “Crosswalk the Musical.”

In the “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” segment, Corden sits down with a celebrity and they take turns asking each other questions. The participants must choose between answering the questions truthfully or ingesting unusual items on the table, which have included cow blood, pork tongue jelly, bird saliva, ant yogurt and cow tongue. In the “Crosswalk the Musical” sketch, Corden dresses up as a character and performs a musical with celebrities in the middle of a busy intersection, surprising drivers.

Craig Ferguson announces he will leave ‘Late Late Show’ in December

Corden, who describes himself as the “chunky unit” and is said to be Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour’s favorite comedian, reached new levels of stardom when he began his “Carpool Karaoke” videos. The roughly 15-minute-long clips show Corden driving around while celebrities in the passenger seat sing along, sometimes to their own songs.

The host is known for joining in and interviewing his guests whenever they hit a red light. Adele, Bruno Mars, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez have all been featured in the series.

Corden, who has three kids with wife Julia Carey, has also co-starred in movies including “Cats,” “Peter Rabbit” and “The Prom,” for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination. He recently hosted HBO Max’s “Friends: The Reunion” and wrote and starred in the long-awaited 2019 Christmas special of “Gavin & Stacey,” a show Corden co-created with Welsh actress Ruth Jones.

For a moment on Friday morning’s show, Corden left comedy behind and opened up about the difficult choice to depart.

“When I started this journey, it was always going to be just that,” Corden said. “It was going to be a journey, an adventure. I never saw it as my final destination. … I never want this show to overstay its welcome in any way. I always want to love making it, and I really think in a year from now, that will be a good time to move on and see what else might be out there.”

What comes next remains unclear, the comedian told Deadline. But his future projects could include writing, he added.

“There’s still some other things that I feel I want to do,” Corden told the entertainment news site. “I’d like to try and write. There’s some [stories] I’d like to tell. I’d like to see if I’m capable of it. The fact that it’s terrifying is the reason to do it.”

Back on the CBS set, Corden got emotional about the next 200 episodes he will host, calling his choice to leave “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

“But … we are not leaving today,” Corden said. “We still have a year to go and … we are going to go out with a bang.

“Here’s to the next 12 months, and it’s going to be a blast. I promise that.”