CBS has finally firmed up its late night talk block by hiring British actor James Corden to replace Craig Ferguson at The Late Late Show according to The Wrap, a surprising pick and another left-turn in the 35-year-old's eclectic career, which includes creating cult British comedy Gavin & Stacey, winning the Tony for Best Actor in a Play in 2012, and featuring as the Baker in the upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods.
Corden was a relatively unknown actor best known for being part of The History Boys' ensemble. He leapt to fame in Britain when he co-created and starred in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey, winning a BAFTA in 2008. He also had a memorable guest-starring role on Doctor Who as temporary flatmate Owens in the episode "The Lodger" and its sequel "Closing Time." His starring role in the stage comedy One Man, Two Guvnors was critically acclaimed in London and transferred to New York, where he won the Tony; his work as Paul Potts in 2013 biopic One Chance didn't make much of a splash outside the UK.
His last big TV project was Hulu original series The Wrong Mans, a comedy-thriller that aired six episodes to minor acclaim last year, and he'll be a major part of Into the Woods at Christmas as the Baker, but it's still safe to say that he'll be basically unknown to American audiences whenever he begins work at CBS following up Stephen Colbert, who is replacing David Letterman at The Late Show in 2015.
While Corden is a very funny and winning personality who can do a lot with The Late Late Show, his hiring does little to address the diversity of late night TV and will certainly prompt more punditry on the antiquated make-up of the network's late-night hosts (Corden will join fellow white men Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel). No doubt CBS, who have not officially commented on the hiring, will tout his versatility as a performer as they look ahead to a new late night universe, but to many Corden might seem like more of the same.