James Corden, host of “The Late Late Show” host on CBS, charmed prospective Emmy voters Tuesday night at the TV Academy’s Wolf Theater in North Hollywood. Corden was joined by executive producers Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe in a Q&A moderated by former CBS Entertainment chairwoman Nina Tassler. Audiences were treated to funny clips from some of the show’s most memorable segments, including Carpool Karaoke, Role Call, Drop the Mic, Crosswalk the Musical, and Spill Your Guts.
“We knew that we were gonna try to do something that was a little different,” divulges Corden. The Tony Award winner (Best Actor in a Play for “One Man, Two Guvnors” in 2012) was just coming off a role in the movie musical “Into the Wood” (2014), and wanted to star in something that could not only showcase his talents, but prove popular in the age of YouTube. “I think we knew, just by definition of the time slot that we’re in, that if we didn’t make a show that could embrace the internet, and subsequently be embraced by the internet, that it’s quite hard. We also knew that we wanted desperately to not make a show where we just sit and talk. We want to make a variety show.”
Winston, a longtime friend and collaborator of Corden’s, admitted to being reticent when the idea of a talk show was first presented. “I thought he’d really, really lost his mind,” he recalls. Yet Corden was able to convince him during a lunch meeting. “What he ultimately said in that lunch was that where else can I be so creative, that at the beginning a day I can turn up, and not know what an hour of television that we can make for the #1 network in America can be?”
The two then brought in Crabbe, a late night veteran who had previously worked on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” In Corden’s show, he reveals, “I saw an opportunity. I knew how good James was, and how good James could be.” He was attracted to, “the idea that I was going to help introduce him to America,” so that, “everyone else was going to see how good he is.”
Corden, Winston, and Crabbe won Emmys for the show’s first full season (only a few episodes aired in 2015 before Emmy balloting) for Best Interactive Program and Best Variety Special for “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special.” They also competed for Best Variety Talk Series, a rarity for a first season show, losing out to “Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver.”
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