James Corden celebrates tenure on The Late Late Show with online documentary
James Corden will celebrate his eight-year tenure of The Late Late Show with a six-part YouTube documentary.
The series will explore the British comedian’s time as host of the US talk show, from its inception to its finale.
Part one, titled Launching An Unknown, dives into the formation and launch of the series in late 2014 and 2015, with the next five instalments to be released online soon.
It opens with archive footage of Corden being introduced by Scottish broadcaster Craig Ferguson, who jokes that his start date of March 23 2015 was “unlucky”.
Talking heads including show executives describe having to Google Corden’s name after he was announced as the new host as they did not know who he was.
Sheila Rogers, co-executive producer of The Late Late Show, said she was “puzzled like everyone else” by the appointment as Corden had “no talk show background”.
“It was puzzling but it was also kind of exciting because he was someone who didn’t come with any baggage, or background, or a team. Nobody knew what to expect,” she said.
Executive producer Rob Crabbe added: “I think James being unknown helped us because I think for Americans he was a new discovery, and when he gets to be your new discovery you sort of root for him.”
Part one also revealed how Corden had initially approached CBS to pitch a sitcom but had been offered the late-night show instead.
The comedian said executive producer Ben Winston had tried to persuade him not to take the job, but they had plotted to change the format into more of a “variety entertainment show”.
Tonight is our last #LateLateShow.
But before we do that, let's look back at how we got here.https://t.co/YSFdic1jxt
— The Late Late Show with James Corden (@latelateshow) April 27, 2023
Corden later admitted he had no idea if the show would work and he could see “no path to success”.
“There is a litany of people that have come from Britain to do a show in America and it hasn’t worked – there’s no shame in it,” he said.
The documentary also detailed the introduction of the house band, fronted by Reggie Watts, the change to traditional US late-night staging, and the decision to bring all guests on at the same time.
The production team said they were “indebted” to Tom Hanks and Mila Kunis, Corden’s first guests, for helping to launch the show so successfully.
Corden also admitted he had made a decision not to look at or read any reaction to the first show, and had been invited to a dinner by Bono the same night.
He said that the U2 frontman had advised him to “soak up” every moment of his success and promised that he would be in for a “wild ride”.
Corden’s final show – his 1,200th – airs on CBS on Thursday.