The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
|The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson|
|Created by||David Letterman|
|Written by||Jonathan Morano
|Directed by||Tim Mancinelli|
|Presented by||Craig Ferguson|
|Narrated by||Shadoe Stevens|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1,911 (as of April 18, 2014) (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||David Letterman
|Location(s)||CBS Television City
Los Angeles, California
|Running time||39 to 40 minutes without commercials|
|Production company(s)||Worldwide Pants Incorporated
CBS Productions (2005-2006)
CBS Paramount Television (2006-2009)
CBS Television Studios (2009-present)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||January 3, 2005– present|
|Related shows||The Late Late Show|
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is an American late-night talk show hosted by Scottish American comedian Craig Ferguson, who is the third regular host of the Late Late Show franchise. It follows Late Show with David Letterman in the CBS late-night lineup, airing weekdays in the US at 12:37 a.m. It is taped in front of a live studio audience from Monday to Friday at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, directly above the Bob Barker Studio. It is produced by David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants Incorporated and CBS Television Studios.
Since becoming host on January 3, 2005, after Craig Kilborn and Tom Snyder, Ferguson has achieved the highest ratings since the show's inception in 1995. While the majority of the episodes focus on comedy, Ferguson has also addressed difficult subject matter, such as the deaths of his parents, and undertaken serious interviews, such as one with Desmond Tutu, which earned the show a 2009 Peabody Award.
- 1 Show format
- 2 Production milestones
- 3 Show elements
- 4 Ratings
- 5 Notable episodes
- 6 International broadcasts
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The show starts with a cold open which consists of a short monologue—at times acting with Geoff, his robot sidekick, and Secretariat, a pantomime horse, interacting with a member of the studio audience, or occasionally a pre-taped bit.1 The cold open is followed by the opening credits and a commercial break.
Following the break and his introduction, Ferguson begins with "Welcome to Los Angeles, California, welcome to the Late Late Show, I am your host, TV's Craig Ferguson"; this is soon followed by "It's a great day for America, everybody!" and a free-form, largely ad-libbed monologue. After another commercial break, Ferguson is seated behind his desk, where he usually reads and responds to viewer e-mail and (since February 20102) Tweets; during this segment he occasionally will have a guest star with him. He calls his Twitter followers his "robot skeleton army."3
Generally one or two celebrities are interviewed; Ferguson starts each by dramatically ripping up note cards written for the interview, "signalling to the audience, and to the guest, that this conversation need not be rigidly managed."4 Sometimes a stand-up comedian or a musical guest performs, the latter of which is typically pre-taped.5
Ferguson has many running gags. These have included themed weeks such as "Crab Week", "Magic Week" and "Shark Week",6 "Dear Aquaman" (in which Ferguson dresses as the superhero and gives advice), a "photo of Paul McCartney" joke (wherein Ferguson will call for a photo of McCartney, which is actually a photo of actress Angela Lansbury and vice versa); the show often uses variations of this gag featuring other pairs of look-alike celebrities, such as Cher being shown as Marilyn Manson.7
The show ends with "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?", a segment that starts with an animation of a kitten and in which Ferguson "removes his tie, puts his feet on his desk, and summarizes the preceding hour of TV."8
Ferguson's first show as host was on January 3, 2005. For approximately the first two months, he continued his predecessor's monologue format, reading 5-10 jokes from cue cards.5 He would ad-lib between the jokes, and soon noticed that the "stuff in-between" got the most reaction from his audience; after that realization, he decided he and his writers would stop writing jokes.5
A new set debuted on the July 24, 2006 episode.citation needed It included a miniature CBS dirigible that floated along over the backdrop depicting Los Angeles. In the week of 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 detailed representation of Los Angeles.citation needed
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 Scottish rap band called The Highlanderz (consisting of Angus "Big Ginger" Ferguson, Philip "The Howler" McGrade, and Shannon "Bubbles" McGee), riding in a Flex as they traveled from Los Angeles International Airport to the CBS Studio.13 The skits were shown on successive Thursdays starting on September 4.14
On August 31, 2009, the show began broadcasting in high definition, featuring a refitted studio and production facilities, along with a new show logo, new lights, an opening title sequence that "features Ferguson in iconic Los Angeles locations", and a new arrangement of the show's theme song.15
Ferguson's initial contract as host was for six years, until the end of 2010; as of August 2007 he was telling television critics he might not be interested in a contract renewal,5 though by February 2008, he was publicly professing his loyalty to David Letterman, saying "I will sit behind Dave as long as he sits there."16
December 15, 2009 marked his 1,000th episode as host. For the occasion puppets took over the show;17 Ferguson conducted the entire show as his puppet Wavy Ranchero, and recurring sketches also featured puppet replacements. Guests, which were not puppets, included Kristen Bell, Maria Bello, and Jason Schwartzman. Jason Segel also made an appearance as his muppet Dracula, performing a musical number with band The Broken West.1819
On March 31, 2010, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Georgia announced that the Late Late Show had won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television for its "Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu" episode.20 According to the Peabody Board, "the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas."21
On April 3, 2012, CBS announced that they had reached an agreement with Craig Ferguson to a contract extension through 2014. As part of the deal, CBS will co-produce the show with Worldwide Pants and CBS Television Studios and the show will move to a bigger studio.22 Although financial terms were not disclosed, the extension likely included a raise beyond what Variety reported had been his $13 million salary.23
Following the departure of Jay Leno from The Tonight Show and the late night shake-up at NBC both Late Show and The Late Late Show have struggled in the ratings against Jimmy Fallon and his successor at 12:30, Late Night with Seth Meyers. In April 2014, Letterman announced his plans to retire. CBS passed over Ferguson to choose Stephen Colbert as the new host of Late Show beginning some time in 2015, reportedly viewing Ferguson as too much of a niche performer to succeed Letterman. Ferguson's contract, which expires in June 2015,242526 stipulated that he was Letterman's successor at 11:30 and that if he was not given the position would be paid compensation of as much as US$10,000,000.27 Letterman's contract included the right to control the time slot that follows his and produce the Late Late Show and it was his production company, Worldwide Pants, which selected Ferguson as host and with whom his contracts were negotiated. With Letterman's departure, CBS becomes the sole producer of the show and it is the network which determines what is done with the time slot and with which any contract is negotiated.27 CBS has been ambiguous in regard to Ferguson's future as host of The Late Late Show. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves said in an interview “12:30 is up in the air... Obviously, we’re considering all sorts of candidates and women are among them. A woman would be great in late night.”28 However, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler has said that the CBS management are "big fans of Craig" and that "Craig is here and doing his show at 12.30am, and we love having him there."29
Chelsea Handler had reportedly begun negotiations to take over hosting of The Late Late Show when Ferguson's contract expires30 however both Handler and CBS later denied this saying she was in fact in negotiations with CBS' syndication arm for a daytime show.31 32 John Oliver was also reportedly approached by CBS as a possible Late Late Show host prior to his signing a contract with HBO.33
|“||Most nights, he introduces himself as "TV's Craig Ferguson", and pronounces it a "great day for America." After that, no one knows what might come next, not even the host himself.||”|
Ferguson starts with a cold open, which is a two-minute segment before the first commercials, theme song, and actual show. Originally it was a miniature monologue and to talk about the guests on the show. Over time, this segment has expanded to include short skits and musical sessions often involving puppets, and occasional interaction with members of the studio audience. In actual practice, the cold open is the second segment presented when the show is recorded at the CBS studios. The open is actually recorded after the monologue but aired before it, something Ferguson originally thinly disguised, but now openly mocks.
On November 22, 2010, Ferguson opened the show with evidence that a French talk show called Ce Soir Avec Arthur had stolen his show's opening sequence, as well as some of his puppet and song-and-dance concepts.34 On November 30, 2010, Ferguson introduced Arthur in the cold opening of the show; they joked back and forth for about two minutes, and then Arthur returned to help Ferguson answer viewer e-mails and again at the end of the show.35
When he was hired as the full-time replacement for Craig Kilborn, Ferguson 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 January 2, 2008, the full theme had returned, sans one line ("you can always sleep through work tomorrow, okay"). The theme tune was re-recorded for the show's switch to HD, premiering on August 31, 2009 and produced by Andy "Stoker" Growcott.citation needed The song features the full lyrics yet again in addition to a drum intro by Ferguson himself and tighter instrumentation. During his week in Paris, Ferguson used a slower, quieter, jazz arrangement for the show in which he sang alongside a piano and a string bass. During his week in Scotland, the theme was played by Scottish band The Imagineers, and on the last night of the trip was played over the end credits and included additional verses. On September 23, 2013, a new version of the title sequence debuted using the 2009 version of the theme song but incorporating Geoff Peterson, the robot skeleton sidekick, and Secretariat, the pantomime horse, while removing Craig's puppets.
On April 5, 2010, Ferguson began featuring a robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson. The idea for the bit was inspired, in part, by Ferguson's habit of referring to his Twitter followers as his "Robot Skeleton Army". The robot was created by Mythbuster Grant Imahara.36 According to a web article by Jeremy Kaplan, when Imahara became aware of Ferguson's idea to have a robot sidekick he responded with a March 1, 2010 Tweet,
"@CraigyFerg I hear you are looking for a robot sidekick. I think I can help... for a price: get me 100,000 [Twitter followers]. If you can.".37
Ferguson subsequently came through with the followers and Imahara came through with the robot.
Ferguson has said that the robot is "my metaphor for deconstructing the dead art form of the late night talk show", and that he selected the name because of its commonness.38 Ferguson has jokingly referred to Geoff as an "appliance" who is being used because the show's small budget does not permit a typical/living sidekick or band.36
While Geoff began with pre-recorded phrases, since April 2011citation needed Josh Robert Thompson has voiced him live in almost all episodes. Three people are often given screen credit at the end of the show as being responsible for Geoff: Imahara, writer Tom Straw (currently Bob Oschack), and voice actor Thompson.40
Secretariat is a pantomime horse which originally appeared during the first run of the Disney film Secretariat, and as of late 2013 appears on nearly every show in his own special stall to the side of Craig's desk.
For most of his appearances through summer 2012, Ferguson introduced him by pressing a button hidden behind his desk which created the sound of a doorbell, after which he would shout "Who's that at the door?" Secretariat entered the stage and danced across before exiting again, accompanied by a bouncy, pop music-style stock music track. On occasion, Secretariat has crashed into fragile objects, often carried by one of the show's production assistants, Bridger Winegar: a pane of glass, a box of table tennis balls, faux Ming vases, an ice sculpture, stacks of plates, among others. An alternate "slow Secretariat" introduction has the horse enter and move across the stage in exaggerated, halting movements before the music becomes faster resulting in the horse dancing off in his traditional way. In 2012 he began to be accompanied by the show's hair stylist Tuyen Tran and makeup artist Liza Coggins, both wearing a variety of period and theme costumes, and by Winegar and an unnamed show intern, usually wearing embarrassing outfits (often in drag). Secretariat has also been ridden to the stage by guests, including Tom Hanks and Kristen Bell. Other times Secretariat has led guests to the stage, in a conga line fashion.
Ferguson created the "Secretariat Dance" which consists of standing and waving the extended arms back and forth repeatedly until the horse has left the stage, which he began to do shortly after Secretariat began appearing, and the studio audience is shown doing as well.
When the show began its fall season in a new and larger studio in August 2012, Secretariat was given a stable at the right of the stage. The sight of the horse standing still and staring at the ongoings rather than dancing around gave rise to the introduction of "creepy Secretariat" theme music which suggests a more menacing persona.
Secretariat has appeared in some sketches, the most significant of which took place on January 7, 2011, when a clip was shown of him traveling to New York City to deliver a Christmas present to Jimmy Fallon, who competed against Ferguson in the same time slot on NBC. In the clip, Secretariat makes appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, CBS News (where Katie Couric did the Secretariat Dance), and Late Show with David Letterman.41
When Ferguson hosted the show from Paris, France during the week of August 1, 2011, Secretariat played a role in several locations. He again accompanied the show during its week of programs taped in Scotland, airing in summer 2012. Secretariat also appeared in several background shots of ESPN remote shows during the show's visit to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
As of 2013, Secretariat is played by Joseph Bolter and Ryan McGowan.
In 2013, Secretariat revealed he has a severe cocaine addiction, and often snorts it during the show.
|“||I think my show is probably closer to Pee-wee's Playhouse than anything else I've seen, and that is an aspiration.||”|
—Craig Ferguson (August 2009)47
Impersonations and sketch characters frequently done by Ferguson on the show include Prince Charles (usually hosting "The Rather Late Programme"), Wilford Brimley, Sean Connery, Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, Andy Rooney, Aquaman, Michael Caine, David Bowie, Elton John, Bono, Mitt Romney. He claims that he developed his imitation of Caine after an eight-hour long plane ride on which he sat behind Caine, who "gabbed" with his wife the entire trip.citation needed
Less frequent impersonations include Dr Phil, Simon Cowell, Kim Jong Il, Mick Jagger, Regis Philbin, Angela Lansbury (as "Jessica Fletcher" on Murder, She Wrote), Jay Leno, Larry King ("of the Jungle"), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and J.K. Rowling.citation needed
Beginning in 2008, the show began incorporating puppets in the cold open; many were given to Ferguson by Folkmanis Puppets.17 Ferguson stated in an interview with Playboy magazine that the impetus behind starting to do the puppets is hearing an episode of Jonesy's Jukebox during his drive in to work where "The Lonely Goatherd" was played. Upon arriving he decided to lip synch the song on air that night using some hand puppets that were already on hand.48 The cloth puppets have been phased out of the series since its move to the new studio in the fall of 2012, and are no longer featured in the show's new opening that premiered in September 2013, but marionettes of Drew Carey and Morgan Freeman have been used frequently in cold opens during the fall of 2013.
Puppets used on air include:
- Sid: A cute, yet vulgar white rabbit.
- Wavy Rancheros: A crocodile with a Cajun accent prone to waving his left hand at the audience (hence his name), Wavy "hosted" the show's 1,000th episode.
- The Pig/Gustave Flaubert: Used during the initial outbreak of swine flu,citation needed a pig with sideburns and a tuft of hair who has a "contempt for the bourgeoisie".
- Kronos: A monkey who wears a bellhop's uniform and claims to be from another planet.
- Brian: A shark with a wonderful singing voice.
- Punxsutawney Phil: A groundhog that speaks in a German accent.
- Sebastian Trousers: A wolf objecting to the portrayals of wolves in the movies.
- George: A slow talking French snail.
- Craig Ferguson: A highly-satirized version of the host, with a giant Liza Minnelli cut-out for the head. Voiced by Josh Robert Thompson in scenes with Craig portraying Tiny Drew Carey
- Evangeline: A female ferret with a deep, male voice who is on steroids in preparation for the Olympics.
- Sandra Peterson, a rhino head that hangs over the fireplace; voiced by Dana DeLorenzo,49 who also portrayed the character of Beth, the bespectacled "CBS executive."
- Tiny Drew Carey: A small marionette of Drew Carey (though the body and head reflect Carey before his weight loss in 2010). A miniature desk is sometimes featured for Tiny Drew Carey to "sit" behind.
- Morgan Freeman: A large Morgan Freeman marionette who usually interacts with Tiny Drew Carey. Voiced by Josh Robert Thompson
The Late Late Show tapes musical performances separately from the rest of the show. For example, the noise rock band No Age was 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 guitarist 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.51
In 2010, Ferguson began ending interviews by offering the guest a choice of activities. The choices are:
- Mouth Organ: Ferguson and the guest play the mouth organ (harmonica) briefly. Guests that can play the instrument properly are awarded the Golden Mouth Organ.
|Golden Mouth Organ winner||Date||Reference|
|Billy Connolly||December 17, 2010||52|
|David Pogue||February 3, 2011||53|
|Jennifer Ouellette||February 11, 2011||54|
|Hugh Laurie||March 2, 2011||55|
|Neil Patrick Harris||March 3, 2011||56|
|Larry Scotsman Johnson (Audience member)||March 31, 2011||57|
|Kevin Bacon||June 10, 2011||58|
|Zooey Deschanel||July 14, 2011||59|
|Jim Cummings||July 14, 2011||60|
|John Goodman||July 22, 2011||61|
|Jayma Mays||July 22, 2011||62|
|William H. Macy||July 26, 2011||63|
|Ewan McGregor||November 15, 2011||64|
|Wilford Brimley||November 23, 2011||65|
|Eric Idle||February 27, 2012||66|
|Dr. Mehmet Oz||February 28, 2012||67|
|Phil Plait||February 29, 2012||68|
|Steven Tyler||May 9, 2012||69|
|Andy Garcia||June 13, 2012||70|
|David Robinson (Audience member)||August 1, 2012||71|
|Adam Savage||August 1, 2012||71|
|Tom Hanks||November 30, 2012||72|
- Awkward Pause: Ferguson and the guest act out an awkward pause together.
The following is a list of interview ending activities that have been phased out:
- Big Cash Prize: Ferguson will offer the guest $7.50 in nickels for answering a question (which always start with factoids about Iceland), or guessing what's in his imaginary box (Only Geoff knows what's in it). Prior to the episode aired on August 27, 2012, the prize was $50 in $1 bills or in quarters. Ferguson explained that the reduced prize was necessary to help pay for the new studio. During episodes taped in Scotland, the prize was awarded in pounds sterling.
- Fruit: Ferguson asks the guest if they would like a piece of fruit, selected from a basket on the desk containing tropical fruit such as mangoes, cherimoyas, and other exotic offerings. When a coconut is chosen, Ferguson proceeds to smash it open on his desk and drink the coconut milk with the guest.
- Throw Frisbees at the Horse: Ferguson and the guest attempt to hit Secretariat with frisbees.
- Guess What Her Majesty The Queen Is Thinking: Another variation of the Big Cash Prize, Ferguson states that they have imagined a scenario where her majesty the queen has been wrongly imprisoned, and the guest must guess what she is thinking. He then proceeds to impersonate the queen and tell whether or not they were correct.
- True or Not True?: Another variation of the Big Cash Prize, where Ferguson utters a short story (of any matter) and the guest has to decide if it's true or not true. As with "What's in My Box", the real answer is only known to Geoff Peterson.
- Touch My Glittery Ball: The guest is encouraged to touch a small, spinning disco ball on Ferguson's desk. By mid-October 2011 Ferguson had only occasionally offered this option.
- Haggis in a TARDIS/Touch My Haggis: the guest is offered the option to touch a vegetarian haggis, supplied by Neil Gaiman,73 which has been stuffed into the model TARDIS which sits on Craig's desk.
- Freeze-frame High Five: Craig and guest high-five and keep pose. Only used a few times before being phased out.
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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", which was later discovered to actually be four nights due to a difference in title,77 drew a larger audience than Late Night with Conan O'Brien.78 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% from a year ago, compared with a 24% drop for O'Brien"; the year-to-year decline in viewership was attributed to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.78
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson encountered new competition in March 2009, the first night of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. During Fallon's first week, the new show averaged 2.4 million viewers, a half million more viewers than Ferguson's show.79 Fallon maintained his lead over Ferguson during the show's second week, but by March 16, The Late Late Show had attracted a larger audience.80 In July 2009, Ferguson led Late Night in total viewers by a 25% margin.81 On September 22, 2009, the night Ferguson followed the Letterman interview of President Obama, his audience reached 3.24 million, the show's biggest ever; Ferguson attracted two million viewers more than Jimmy Fallon and almost a million more than Conan O'Brien attracted an hour earlier.82 By the end of 2009, The Late Late Show topped Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in the ratings with a 1.8 rating/6 share and 1.6 rating/6 share, respectively.83
By May 2010, Late Late Show and Late Night were roughly tied in the ratings, with Ferguson leading in total viewers (1.7 million compared to 1.6 million for Fallon) and Fallon having a narrow edge in ratings.84
During November sweeps, The Late Late Show was third in late-late night broadcasting; its 1.7 million views were well ahead of Last Call with Carson Daly but behind the 2 million viewers of Jimmy Kimmel Live and the 1.8 million viewers of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.85
The 2012 November sweeps in saw Jimmy Kimmel Live edge ahead of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with 2.1 million total viewers, compared to Fallon's 1.75 million and Ferguson's 1.6 million.86
- On January 30, 2006, Ferguson eulogized his father,87 who had died the day before. He 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 referenced his 15 years of sobriety and the struggle he had with addiction, almost ending in suicide.88
- On February 4, 2008, Ferguson celebrated his first show following his swearing in as a U.S. citizen. The show featured video footage of the ceremony, his unofficial announcement of being chosen to perform at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, an interview with Kristen Bell, and a special performance by the Scottish drum band The Wicked Tinkers, who also performed on the tribute to his father two years earlier.89
- On September 10, 2008, he 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!"90
- On December 8, 2008, Ferguson remembered his mother who died December 1, while his show was on break. He told stories about his mother and how he felt after he had returned from his mother's funeral in Scotland. During the monologue, as he recounted his father's death nearly three years previously and spoke of his parents being back together in death, he became emotional to the verge of tears and cut to commercial. Prior to the break, he mentioned that his mother wanted the hymn called "Jesus Loves Me" sung at her funeral because that was the only hymn to which everyone knew the words. After the break, he showed a clip from a 2005 interview with his mother and a second clip with his mother and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Finally, he played his mother's favorite song to end the show, which was "Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.91
- On March 4, 2009, he dedicated the entire show to his guest, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The cold open and monologue featured a brief history of South Africa and apartheid. The show was during a week of change in late night, with the premiere of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a show competing with The Late Late Show, occurring two days earlier. The interview received critical praise from NPR's TV critic, David Bianculli, who called the episode's monologue "nothing less than an entertaining, understandable, shockingly thorough history of South African politics and colonization" and its interview "inspirational ... almost beyond measure."4 This show was given a Peabody Award March 31, 2010 for broadcasting excellence in news and entertainment.92
- On April 28, 2009, after the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Federal Communications Commission rules imposing fines for indecent language,93 Ferguson said in his monologue that he "agree[d] with the Supreme Court ruling today", but then commented in the monologue and throughout the show about swearing on TV, CBS pixelating his mouth and hands, permissible and impermissible language describing sex, and whether he would be personally responsible for the FCC fines.
- On October 5, 2009, he addressed David Letterman's extortion scandal in the cold open and made a few jokes about how it was difficult for him to make fun of his own boss, even though "my job is to take the number one news story of the day and have a little fun with it." He called Letterman "the king of late night", and expressed humorous concern over getting fired were he to say the wrong thing. He commented, "I don't think I kept a secret from you that I've had a few incidents in my past. But I made the smart move. I wrote them down in a book", which led to a comical plug for his then-recently published book American on Purpose.94
- On October 27, 2009 during an interview with Alicia Silverstone, CBS lost power due to abnormally high gusts of wind in the area,95 with Ferguson joking that "We've gone to radio, everybody!" before going to a commercial break. The power "returned" before the interview with Salman Rushdie (the interview was pretaped), only to "go out" again during the "What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig?" segment.96 The next night, he commented in the cold opening that Wolf Blitzer reported on CNN that the lights went out on the show, "but how can that be news?"97
- The December 15, 2009 episode was the 1,000th of Ferguson's tenure as host,98 and to mark the occasion, the entire show was done with puppets.99 "Wavy Ranchero" "filled in" as host, delivering a brief monologue and interviewing the celebrity guests, the shark puppet was used for the "Dear Aquaman" skits, and "Connery the Bull" appeared in the "A Sean Connery Holiday Memory" skits. The only time Ferguson himself appeared on camera (aside from the opening title sequence and the "Dear Aquaman" intro) was during the closing segment in which he was on stage in his Prince Charles costume, along with many of his puppets and crew members, while Wavy "performed" James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend". Ferguson was also seen during the closing credits which showed various captioned shots of behind-the-scenes action that took place during the episode's production.
- On January 14, 2010, Ferguson said in the cold open that he would not talk about "the trouble at late night" at NBC, because there was an actual news story about the earthquake in Haiti. Commenting on Rush Limbaugh's statement "We already donated to Haiti, it's called U.S. Income Tax", he said "Rush Limbaugh has to fill a lot of air time with saying things and occasionally saying garbage, and God knows I do that every night here." He told Limbaugh that the way to take the sting out of his statement was to donate a million dollars of his money to the Red Cross "and we'll say no more about it."100
- On February 23, 2010, Ferguson did a show with a single guest and without a studio audience, a format in part inspired by Tom Snyder, who had hosted Tomorrow and the first five years of The Late Late Show in such a format.99 According to Ferguson, the Tonight Show host and time slot conflict got him to reflect on the "late-night traditions started by Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and 'lovingly deconstructed' by David Letterman" and prompted him to try such an experiment.101 Ferguson's guest for the hour was Stephen Fry.101
- On November 16, 2010, Ferguson dedicated an entire episode to the British science fiction program Doctor Who, complete with a Dalek and guest Matt Smith. The cold open was marred when a rehearsed dance number was forced to be scrapped due to CBS not receiving legal clearance to play the Doctor Who theme song five minutes before air, much to the anger of Ferguson. The dance number later leaked on Youtube on December 1.102 Ferguson announced on January 3, 2011 that the dance number had finally been cleared to be shown and that it would air on the upcoming show which Alex Kingston (who plays "River Song" on Doctor Who) would guest on.
- On February 1, 2011, the show was dedicated to an examination of African-American history and culture in honor of February being Black History Month in the United States. Ferguson stated at the top of the show that as a recent immigrant to the country he was not very knowledgeable about the topic and would use that night's episode to educate himself. He also declared at the top of the show that there would be "no skeleton" and "no horse" during that night's taping (in reference to Geoff Petersen and Secretariat). His guests that night were Cornel West and George Clinton, who also performed "One Nation Under A Groove" with his band Parliament-Funkadelic.103
- In June 2011 Ferguson filmed an entire week of shows in Paris, France, featuring Kristen Bell as co-host. The episodes aired during the week of August 1.104 Ferguson joked, "It's the first time in the history of this show that we've been allowed outside." For this week of shows, the program was temporarily re-titled Le Late Late Show avec Craig Ferguson à Paris, and Ferguson sang the show's theme song on-camera with help from two Parisian musicians: one playing a piano, the other a double bass.105 One YouTube video shows Ferguson recording the theme at a faster pace than what was aired.106
- On August 23, 2011, Ferguson received a white substance in the mail that was feared to be anthrax. Many people were held in isolation after being exposed to the substance, but they were released after the police discovered that the powdery substance was benign. Ferguson joked about the incident on his show, explaining, "Today someone sent an envelope packed with white powder to the show. I offered to taste it, but they said 'no'".107
- On February 18, 2012, Ferguson celebrated 20 years of sobriety, which he acknowledged with the Twitter posting, "You're welcome Law Enforcement Agencies".108
- On the April 2, 2012, episode, Ferguson announced in the monologue that a week of shows had been taped the previous week in Scotland, mentioning that he had visited his old school. On April 26, a 2-minute, 17-second video to promote the Scotland shows was released on CBS's YouTube page and aired during the cold open the same night. The short promotional video was set to the song "Imagineer" by the Glasgow-based band The Imagineers. In the video, clips from the week of Scotland shows were shown, including one in which Ferguson steps out of the TARDIS prop from Doctor Who, and other clips featured Ferguson, and some of his guests, lip-synching to the song.109 The shows in Scotland began airing on May 14, 2012. Joining Ferguson were Mila Kunis, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rashida Jones, David Sedaris, and Ariel Tweto.109
- On July 20, 2012, the show following the Aurora shooting began with Ferguson in a serious cold open, recorded shortly before the episode was to air. Ferguson offered his condolences to those affected by the tragedy, also noting the lack of a monologue on the night's show (the show for July 20 was recorded on July 19, before the shooting had occurred). The monologue that was scheduled to be aired was centered around The Dark Knight Rises, the movie that was being shown when the shooting occurred in the cinema. Because of this, Ferguson opted to not air the monologue but to air the remainder of the show, since he said that scrapping the entire show would be unfair to the guests and that the topic of the shooting couldn't be ignored, but that it also couldn't be discussed in front of an audience in a normal show.110
- On August 8, 2012, the final episode in Studio 58 was recorded. The guests in the episode were Chris Hardwick and Carla Gugino. The end of the episode saw the entire production crew of the show standing behind Ferguson as he delivered his send off, thanking them for their work in Studio 58. The show moved to Studio 56 and began airing on August 27, 2012.111
- On September 4, 2012, Ferguson opened the show with a short eulogy for his friend Michael Clarke Duncan, who died the day prior. Ferguson showed unaired footage of their trip to Scotland in April, in which he attempts to have Duncan "shoot his finger guns" at the camera for the title sequence.112
- On November 9, 2012, the power went out for the first time in Craig's new studio, much to Ferguson's annoyance (Ferguson's previous studio was prone to rain leaks, bad lighting, and power outages). Ferguson made a dry comment about how they shot the monologue beforehand.113
- On April 15, 2013, the show following the Boston Marathon bombing began with Ferguson, seated at his desk, talking to the audience about the bombings, his feelings about them, his personal relationship with the city of Boston, and the lack of a proper open and monologue for the show, stating that it would be "insensitive, at best" to open the show with "It's a great day for America." He also explained the bombings might come up again during the show, saying, "This is on my mind; I can't pretend it's not there." Along with the monologue, the show omitted the opening sequence, the usual "Tweets & Email" segment (going straight into the first interview following the first commercial), and the usual "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?" segment at the end of the show. Geoff Peterson and Secretariat were also absent. During the show, Ferguson talked briefly about the bombings to his guests, Rob Lowe and Larry King. To end the show, Ferguson addressed his audience in Boston, saying, "Our thoughts are with you, and we'll see how it goes. Good luck to you." Time magazine later placed Ferguson's monologue at number one on its list of the Top 10 Late Night Moments of 2013.114
- On April 1, 2014, Ferguson and Drew Carey exchanged hosting duties in an April Fools' Day prank, with Ferguson hosting The Price Is Right and Carey hosting The Late Late Show.115
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- Shark Week was apparently a reference to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and that channel, saying that Ferguson has always loved Shark Week, scheduled him for an appearance on August 4, 2010. "Happy SHARK WEEK, SHARK BITES: ADVENTURES IN SHARK WEEK" (Press release). Discovery.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- e.g. "Do we have a picture of Cher?"dead link from cbs.com
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