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The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is an American late-night talk show hosted by Scottish-American comedian Craig Ferguson. Ferguson is the third regular host of The Late Late Show, which airs on CBS.

Show format

The show starts with a cold open introduction, followed by a commercial break, then the opening credits. Craig almost always begins his monologue by saying, "It's a great day for America, everybody."

Craig's monologue is told in an informal, largely-improvised fashion and often spills over into his first segment following a commercial break. Ferguson reads and responds to viewer e-mail almost every night. Other segments include comedy sketches which feature Ferguson in costume or performing in collaboration with any of a number of semi-regular guests including performers such as Dave Foley, Betty White, Tim Gunn, Daniel McVicar, and Tim Meadows. Occasionally a guest will participate in a sketch, such as Ewan McGregor.. Most shows include celebrity interviews and sometimes a musical guest or stand-up comedy act. Musical performances are often taped before the rest of a show

Ferguson has used many running gags that span multiple shows and have colorful animated graphics. These have included themed weeks such as "Crab Week" and "Shark Week" (though Craig admits that the show's budget makes the themes limited mostly to graphics), a sound effects machine installed at his desk, (which has been removed) and "Election Fever" during the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election.

Serious monologues

On a few occasions Ferguson's opening monologue has taken on a serious tone.

  • On January 30, 2006, Ferguson eulogized his father, who had died the day before. Ferguson was nominated for his first Emmy Award for the episode.
  • On February 19, 2007, Ferguson announced he would do "no Britney Spears jokes", saying "comedy should have a certain amount of joy in it" and that it shouldn't include "attacking the vulnerable." He references his 15 years of sobriety and the struggle he had with addiction, almost ending in suicide.
  • On September 10, 2008, Ferguson described his excitement about voting in his first U.S. Presidential election and ranted against American voter fatigue, stating, "If you don't vote, you're a moron!"

Production milestones

A new set debuted on the July 24, 2006 episode, after the previous one had been comically destroyed by Bob Barker and others from The Price is Right. It included a miniature CBS dirigible that floats along over the backdrop depicting Los Angeles.

When the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike began, the show went into reruns. It resumed production on January 2, 2008 after Worldwide Pants and the WGA came to an agreement.

In the week starting with March 17, 2008, The Late Late Show debuted a new set featuring a desk/interview area on a raised platform. The backdrop was also changed to a more realistic and detailed representation of Los Angeles.

In 2008 Worldwide Pants Incorporated signed a product placement deal with Ford to promote the Ford Flex during The Late Late Show. Eight episodes ("with one repeat") of the show included custom-written skits in which Ferguson played the leader of a band called the Highlanderz, riding in a Flex as they traveled from Los Angeles International Airport to the CBS Studio. The skits were shown on successive Thursdays starting on September 4.

Ratings

In 2006, clips of The Late Late Show began appearing on the video sharing website YouTube. Subsequently, Ferguson's ratings "grew 7 percent (or by 100,000 viewers).

During the week ending March 31, 2006, The Late Late Show attracted an average of 1.9 million total viewers, a number that increased to 2.0 million a year later.

During the week ending April 4, 2008, The Late Late Show attracted an average of 1.88 million total viewers; that week, for the first time since Ferguson began hosting, the show's "five-night week of original head-to-head broadcasts" drew a larger audience than Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Reuters noted that "Ferguson's bigger accomplishment seems to be that he has merely lost fewer viewers this season, with his total audience slipping 12 percent from a year ago, compared with a 24 percent drop for O'Brien"; the year-to-year decline in viewership was attributed to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.

Show elements

Theme song

The opening theme for the show was dropped after Craig Kilborn left. When Ferguson was hired as the full-time replacement, he co-wrote and recorded a new theme song.

Beginning July 7, 2006, the show's theme featured only the ending of the original song, though by the January 2, 2008, show the full theme had returned, mostly intact.

Musical performances

At some point The Late Late Show began taping musical performances separately from the rest of the show. For example, the band No Age were videotaped on October 2, 2008 for an appearance scheduled to air October 27. That performance was also the subject of an equal-time rule controversy in which Randy Randall was not allowed to wear a pro-Barack Obama T-shirt. Randall, not wanting to cancel the appearance, chose instead to turn the T-shirt inside out and write "Free Health Care" on the shirt with a Sharpie marker

Impersonations

Impersonations frequently done by Ferguson on the show include Prince Charles, Sean Connery, Michael Caine ["in Space"], and Bono. He claims that he developed his very well-performed imitation of Caine after an eight hour long plane ride, in which he sat behind Caine who "gabbed" with his wife the entire trip.

Less frequent Ferguson impersonations include Dr. Phil, Simon Cowell, Kim Jong Il, Mick Jagger, Angela Lansbury, Jay Leno, Larry King ["of the Jungle"], and J. K. Rowling.

Bob Barker

A running gag during the summer of 2006 involved Ferguson going out of his way to pick on the recently retired CBS game show host Bob Barker who, Ferguson eventually concluded, was a vampire.

The climax was reached on July 15, 2006, when Bob, flanked by the rest of The Price is Right's staff, including announcer Rich Fields and some of Barker's Beauties, staged a "surprise" visit. This was the last show before a long-planned replacement of the set. Although Barker did not injure Ferguson, he did do some serious damage to his desk with a single blow. The desk was later totally destroyed by the models, and Ferguson returned, after the commercial break, with a card table covered by a checkered picnic cloth. The episode ended with Ferguson helping the episode's musical guests, Family Force 5, completely trash the set.

Barker appeared on his show immediately after retirement and presented a portrait of himself as a vampire to Ferguson as a gift.

References

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