A year in, James Corden has carved out late-night niche

It's almost the anniversary of Corden's debut as host of the CBS program 'Late Late Show' and on a recent episode, he brought back an idea he had used early on in the show's run, filming an episode at someone's home.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
James Corden hosts CBS's 'Late Late Show.'

As the one-year anniversary of his debut as host of CBS’s “Late Late Show” approaches, James Corden brought back an idea for an episode that he had used early on in his run, visiting various houses in an attempt to track down someone who would allow him to film an episode there. 

Mr. Corden debuted as host of the “Late Late Show” on March 23 last year and filmed an episode at someone’s house soon after. This time, Corden filmed an episode at the house where a woman named Natalie lives with others.

While filming the episode, Corden and his crew played hide and seek and the episode's guests – actor Colin Farrell, comedian Wanda Sykes, animal handler Jack Hanna, and singer Demi Lovato – all showed up at the house, with Lovato performing there. 

In the late-night ratings battle, Corden goes up against “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Jimmy Fallon's “Tonight Show,” and Stephen Colbert of the “Late Show.” As of the end of last year, Corden drew fewer total viewers and viewers 18-49 than Fallon, Colbert, Meyers, or ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, though he drew more of both than cable competition like Conan O'Brien on TBS and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

Measuring Corden's ratings against Meyer's is a better comparison than measuring the host against the hosts that are on TV earlier in the night – Fallon and Colbert both have good time slots and were well known to viewers at the time of their debuts (Fallon had hosted "Late Night" and Colbert rose to fame on "The Colbert Report").

In addition, as of this past November, Corden was drawing more young viewers than previous “Late Late” host Craig Ferguson.

How has Corden made his presence known on the late-night landscape? With viral videos. Similar to the success Fallon has found with these segments, particularly “lip sync battle” clips with celebrities, Corden’s signature franchise is now the “carpool karaoke” segments. His most popular of these, the clip he filmed with singer Adele, has drawn more than 86 million views.

This past August, there was an episode of “Late Late Show” that starred only celebrities who got their start online. Stars included Rebecca Black of the song “Friday” and YouTube star Tyler Oakley. 

“Corden may understand the value of online stardom better than just about any other host in late night,” Hollywood Reporter writer Natalie Jarvey wrote at the time of that episode. “… Corden’s natural instinct for sharable content as been key to his early success on CBS, prompting network chief Nina Tassler to praise the show for exceeding expectations.”

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