James Corden, the British theater actor and comedian turned late-night TV host in the United States, said on Thursday that he would leave his 12:30 am nightly show on CBS next year. Mr. Corden made the announcement during a taping of his talk show in Los Angeles, a network spokesman said.
Mr. Corden, the host of “The Late Late Show” since 2015, has been signaling for some time that he was strongly considering leaving the show.
Five months ago, Mr. Corden told Variety that he never saw his late-night perch as “a final destination.” In a previous interview with The Sun, Mr. Corden said he and his family were “homesick.”
Mr. Corden’s contract was set to expire August, but he signed an extension that will keep him on CBS through next spring.
“We wish he could stay longer, but we are very proud he made CBS his American home and that this partnership will extend one more season on ‘The Late Late Show,’” George Cheeks, the president of CBS, said in a statement.
Mr. Corden’s impending departure is one of the most significant changes for the late-night comedy lineup since 2014 and 2015, when veteran hosts like David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart left their shows, and a new generation of stars, including Mr. Corden, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah and HBO’s John Oliver, went on the air.
There is a feeling of uncertainty in late night beyond Mr. Corden’s departure. Jimmy Kimmel, the longtime ABC host, has a contract that will end soon and has said publicly that he was unsure if he would renew. Stephen Colbert, whose show precedes Mr. Corden’s on CBS, also has a contract that expires next year. Chris Licht, the longtime executive producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” left last month to become the chairman of CNN. And Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” recently went through yet another showrunner change, the fourth in four years.
There are questions throughout the entertainment industry about the longtime viability of the late-night talk show genre. Over the last few years, as viewing habits have rapidly changed, ratings for the shows have nose-dived. Five years ago, roughly 2.8 million people were tuning into Mr. Corden’s show as well as NBC’s 12:30 am show, “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” By 2022, that figure had dropped to about 1.9 million, according to Nielsen’s delayed viewing data.
Talk shows — which depend on topical relevance and audiences who make it a daily habit to tune in — have also not fared well on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Mr. Corden entered the late-night fray in a big way when his show debuted in 2015. Mr. Corden, who had a successful theater career but was still relatively unknown in the United States, became an overnight star. “Carpool Karaoke,” a signature of his show from him, featured him singing along with stars like Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Adele, and clips routinely went viral.
“Seven years ago, James Corden came to the US and took television by storm, with huge creative and comedic swings that resonated in a big way with viewers on-air and online,” Mr. Cheeks said.
But Mr. Corden’s brand of comedy—focused on games and musical sketches—soon found itself out of step with the zeitgeist.
The landscape changed considerably after Donald J. Trump entered the White House. Late-night audiences began devouring biting political humor. Within weeks of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Mr. Fallon’s fun-and-games approach at “The Tonight Show” fell steeply in the ratings, and Mr. Colbert became the No. 1 late-night host, thanks to his more topical approach to the. He has held that lead for more than five years. Like Mr. Fallon, Mr. Corden favored a lighter show.
Mr. Corden parlayed his late-night perch into other high-profile ventures, including hosting the Tony Awards and Grammy Awards. He has also appeared in several movies, including the critically gnawed-on “Cinderella” and “Cats.”