As late night talker Craig Ferguson begins his show each night, “It’s a great day for America everybody,” and for many today, it really is great news! Some night owl television viewers may well have seen this coming. Yet others were surprised to learn that Craig Ferguson announced his decision to step down as host of CBS’s “The Late Late Show” to his audience during the taping of his show on April 28, 2014. Word spread quickly as a CBS press release shared the network's response.
Today’s announcement marks the ripping of yet another seam in David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company. Craig should have seen this coming, for CBS to choose anyone else but Ferguson to succeed Letterman in their prime time night spot. Frankly, the way both late night hosts have been ribbing, trashing, and ridiculing CBS CEO Les Moonves and the CBS censors, particularly hard the past two years, who needs them?
Ask yourself, if you owned a multimillion dollar organization and you were paying millions for “name” hosts to draw audiences and sponsors to watch your program over the competition of a bunch of funny clones of one funny guy from a long time ago, would you really, really decide to keep Dave when NBC wouldn’t even keep Leno? No. Then when Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are setting the ratings on fire and scrambling the competition what reason is there to promote Craig into their prime spot, next, when their individual and collective loyalty is nonexistant?
David Letterman used to be funny, back when he was on NBC in the daytime. He was really funny. In the past five years, post behavior and such that everyone has almost sort of, kind of forgotten, daddy Dave hasn’t been able to generate a sincere smile, nor any actual interest in his guests. Only Paul Schaffer and the CBS Orchestra, aka, the World’s Most Dangerous Band, has there been any reason to tune in to "The Late Show" after the news.
In the later evening hours, apparently the CBS censors have been asleep at the switch of good taste as Ferguson continues to propel one juvenile, moronic, and base level of humor and just repeat it ad nauseum all night long. Ferguson has complained he doesn’t have a band. His co-host is a comedic voiceover guy who (though unseen) is often far funnier than Ferguson, when he’s ad libbing. Let’s face it. For many mature viewers with an IQ above a kumquat, Ferguson isn’t funny, he’s filthy. And who wants to pay millions of dollars to advertise on a program that features repetitive renditions of words that wouldn’t fly even on decent internet blogs, even late at night, much less right after your 10 p.m. news?
Ferguson’s best talent is dancing, and the times when his mouth is shut and he’s dancing with the fake horse, Secretariat, is the highlight of 90% of most broadcasts. For the April Fool’s broadcast, Drew Carey and Craig Ferguson switched places and it may well have caught the eye of CBS programming executives that Drew Carey has earned the confidence and trust of middle America on “The Price is Right” and he looked far more at home behind the interview desk and allowed the focus to be on the guests, an innovative step in late night broadcasting. Seth Meyers is doing an excellent job on his show so even Craig’s viewers have been defecting, quickly.
CBS Entertainment Chairman, Nina Tassler, shared the network’s position in the same press release:
During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30,” said Nina Tassler, Chairman, CBS Entertainment. “He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.
It is true that a few times, Craig Ferguson offered up heartfelt monologues right after national tragedies had occurred, but any good he did was often quickly forgotten with his inability to understand that it is not funny to make fun of the CBS Cares public service announcements. After endless numbers of his filthy remarks, he’d look over at his on-set censor and say “CBS cares” and even Geoffrey Peterson, the robot, would add in the juvenile, eighth-grade locker room humor, adding on, “CBS Cares.”
Ferguson may have a legion of loyal fans and they are welcome to follow him in a syndicated game show that CBS says he has in development slated for Fall, 2014. Of course the standard high road taken by the network included a mention of Ferguson’s Peabody Award in 2009 for his “unique approach to late night television,” as well as a 2006 Emmy Award nomination.
Bottom line is that CBS didn’t pick Craig Ferguson to succeed David Letterman, which means Worldwide Pants, producers of both shows, are out of luck for making a late night buck. For some viewers, it’s a late night loss to see Ferguson stepping down. But for others, they’re happy to see him pack up his snake coffee mug, his $50 in quarters, his stacks of harmonicas, and move along.
So who will succeed Ferguson in 2015? Twitter will have some metrics to measure public opinion soon enough. Remember that Keyhole picked up that people on Twitter registered a 30% choice for Tina Fey to replace Letterman vs. 10% for Stephen Colbert. Could it be that one more late night alumnus of Saturday Night Live will get her chance? Time will tell. For now, I’ll definitely look forward to the end of the year when the last that CBS late night will hear from him is one great long, awkward pause. CBS cares and so do I.