Scottish-born late night host Craig Ferguson is set to moderate HBO’s Game of Thrones panel Friday at Comic-Con as the cabler brings the fantasy-drama to San Diego along with its vampire series True Blood. Game Of Thrones, which led the Emmy field last week with 19 nominations, will take over Hall H on Friday at 1:40PM with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, author and co-EP George R.R. Martin, and stars John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane), Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) in attendance.
CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves saw his wife, Julie Chen upstage his new primetime schedule announcement today with her early-morning tweet of photo showing Les — or, as she called him, “my hubby” – “hanging with the hilarious @joelmchale” – which McHale, whose NBC comedy Community got canceled earlier in the week — quickly retweeted, and…well, you know what follows. (McHale has been pegged as a guy in search of a late-night talk show — he currently hosts E!’s The Soup.)
Naturally, industry navel-lint gazers took Chen’s strategically timed tweet to mean Les would, today at CBS’s Carnegie Hall Upfront presentation, announce McHale is replacing Craig Ferguson on his network’s late-night schedule. If so, that would bring to 2 the number of Comics Who Bombed At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner who have been signed by Les to take over CBS late-night franchises — Stephen Colbert being the other:
— Julie Chen (@JulieChen) May 14, 2014
UPDATE: Bill Maher Says CBS Treated Craig Ferguson “Shabbily” As David Letterman Delivers Detached Send-Off: Video
I think CBS and the media treated Craig Ferguson pretty shabbily
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) April 29, 2014
Some wonder if David Letterman‘s name should be added to the Those Treating Craig Shabbily List, after watching Dave’s comments last night on his Late Show. Sure, Dave praised Ferguson’s program, saying, “I’m telling you, to be unique in the world of television – virtually impossible.” But viewers who expected Dave to in some way acknowledge that Ferguson made this show for Letterman’s own Worldwide Pants for many years came away baffled. Dave appeared to be detached, mostly reading from a prepared statement written on a cue card, delivered as if he were unfamiliar with the particulars:
Craig Ferguson tonight announced to his studio audience he would be leaving The Late Late Show at the end of the year. “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much,” Ferguson said in the announcement. Here’s how he broke the news to his studio audience:
From the Interesting Timing department: The same day Craig Ferguson tells his audience he’s leaving The Late Late Show in December, Chelsea Handler turns up a guest on TBS’ Conan. There’s been no shortage of chatter about what the future holds for the soon-to-be-former host of E!’s Chelsea Lately. Several days ago on Ellen, Handler ended her teasing about a CBS late-night gig, saying she “would never be on a regular network”. And when Conan O’Brien mentions the scuttlebutt about Handler being close to signing to do a Netflix show, she retorts, “Everything that’s been printed about me is a lie.” Later, in something of a backpedal/attention getter, she adds, “Everything’s an option, honestly.” But O’Brien gets the last laugh in this clip — literally. Have a look:
CBS is down one more late-night host – Craig Ferguson just announced to his studio audience that he would not be re-upping his contract to host Late Late Show and will step down in December. “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much,” Ferguson said in the announcement, which immediately triggered speculation as to who would replace him.
Ferguson is sticking around until year’s end to give show staff time to figure things out, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. But, with Ferguson leaving in December, it’s likely CBS will have a new 12:35 AM host on its air before Stephen Colbert replaces David Letterman — Colbert is likewise leaving his Comedy Central series The Colbert Report at the end of the calendar year, but David Letterman has yet to set his end date on Late Show — only saying it will be some time in 2015.
Ferguson has been Late Late Show’s host since succeeding Craig Kilborn in January 2005; his contract was set to expire this summer, so it had been widely expected some decision on his CBS late-night future would be reached soon-ish. And all America recently was brought up to speed on the clause in that contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network looked elsewhere for its David Letterman replacement. That happened when CBS went with Stephen Colbert after Dave also surprised his studio audience with news he was stepping down in 2015. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout-out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial.
The day after CBS’s bombshell announcement that Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on Late Show, when things calmed down a bit and reason returned to her throne, industry pundits began to contemplate the deeper meaning of the shift in the late-night landscape. Practically speaking, it means Comedy Central is now one late-night show short — and CBS may be as well, if Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, or the network, decides to call it a day now that Craig’s for sure not getting the 11:35 PM timeslot. We’ve all been brought up to speed on the clause in Craig’s contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network settled elsewhere on its Letterman replacement. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial break.
CBS’ announcement today that Comedy Central rock star Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of its late-night show in 2015 caps a whirlwind week in which the network jumped from being just a little footnote in the coverage of The Battle Of The Two Jimmys to the undisputed star of the late-night drama. But don’t get out of your seats yet – the drama’s not over. CBS execs are thought to be frustrated with Craig Ferguson’s show that follows Dave’s (it is co-produced by CBS and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which will depart as Late Show producer when its boss retires.) Ferguson’s numbers have not broadened out as CBS had hoped, and there are rumblings that CBS isn’t done yet and we should expect another move to come. On the bright side, Ferguson will now benefit from the lucrative (reportedly in the neighborhood of $5M) succession clause in his contract, CBS having made its other choice.
Asked about Ferguson’s future at the network, CBS chief Leslie Moonves today acknowledged Ferguson’s contract is up soon, adding, “we’re having conversations” and “there is nothing to report now.”
Moonves being a confirmed showman, his network went into information lock-down the instant Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. Since then, until this morning’s Colbert news, network execs approached by reporters with succession questions took on the cautious reserve usually seen in better breeds of canines when offered a piece of green leafy vegetable by a stranger of whose bona fides they are not convinced. The reporters, who had flung themselves at their computers and pounded out their Dave Is Leaving copy in an ecstasy of Era-Ending Grief, tore through the list of supposed candidates, most of whom were dismissable:
* Leno, who went out on top in the late-night ratings — a storyline worth sticking with.
* Chelsea Handler, who had a jump-start over the others, having already begun her E! Is a Sad, Sad Place To Live Tour in search of a new late-night job, but who is one of those tough modern female comics, with their sardonic eyes and their freedom of speech and breadth of vocabulary, which made her a lousy fit for Moonves, who is passionate about legacy and prestige.
* Neil Patrick Harris, consummate song-and-dance man and a longtime player at The Les Moonves Repertoire Theatre, who, though a much better fit than, say Handler, took himself out of the running when he said late-night would be an insane amount of work, and he hadn’t actually been approached.
* Tina Fey, a member of The Lorne Michaels Repertory Theatre, who would have had to competing against Michaels’ exec produced The Tonight Show, now hosted by her former SNL Weekend Update partner Jimmy Fallon.
* Louis C.K., who only made the list because, on his FX comedy, he once played a version of himself who was in line to replace Letterman, and the media loves art-imitates-life gags.
* Jimmy Kimmel, who only made the list because he told TV Guide last month, “I’d definitely consider it,” when asked if he’d go to CBS to replace Dave, adding, “I am loyal to ABC and grateful to them for giving me a shot… I’m not looking to flee. But just getting a call from Dave would be big for me. So it’s definitely something I would listen to.”
Science Channel is tapping into a science-crazed social media phenomenon for multi-format series I F-ing Love Science, to be exec produced by Craig Ferguson. The show is inspired by the popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science, which has attracted more than 11M social media followers since it was created three years ago by British biology student Elise Andrew, who is onboard as a consulting producer. The series is produced by Green Mountain West Inc. and Karga7 Productions and will premiere in the fourth quarter, featuring a blend of live-action, animation, and re-creations showcasing the random connectivity of science with appearances by celebrities and scientists. Ferguson made the announcement via taped message Saturday at Science Channel’s SXSW Interactive event . The late-night host will exec produce alongside Green Mountain West partner Rebecca Tucker, Karga7′s Sarah Wetherbee, and Science Channel’s Debbie Adler Myers and Rocky Collins. Science Channel VP Production Bernadette McDaid is overseeing.
The Craig Ferguson-hosted Celebrity Name Game is set to launch on 58 Sinclair stations, four CBS O&Os and others, pushing clearances for the fall 2014 syndicated pop culture game show past 80% of the U.S — up from 40% in less than a month. Tribune Broadcasting previously came aboard, acquiring Celebrity Name Game for all 25 of its stations. The half-hour strip, based on the board game Identity Crisis, was developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Prods with Scott St. John (Deal Or No Deal), who will serve as showrunner. The show teams celebrities with contestants to identify famous names, including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters. Celebrity Name Game is co-produced and co-financed by FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury, and is distributed domestically by Debmar-Mercury and internationally by FremantleMedia.
Debmar-Mercury has sold nationally syndicated pop culture game show Celebrity Name Game to Tribune Broadcasting stations covering 40% of the U.S. Hosted by The Late, Late Show‘s Craig Ferguson, Celebrity Name Game, based on the board game Identity Crisis, was developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Prods with Scott St. John (Deal Or No Deal), who will serve as showrunner. The half-hour strip is set for a fall 2014 launch on Tribune stations including WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago. In Celebrity Name Game, celebrities team with contestants to identify famous names including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters. Celebrity Name Game is co-produced and co-financed by FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury, and is distributed domestically by Debmar-Mercury and internationally by FremantleMedia North America.
Syndicated Pop Culture Game Show With Craig Ferguson Set For Fall 2014 Launch Via FremantleMedia, Debmar-Mercury & Coquette
FremantleMedia North America has teamed with Debmar-Mercury for Celebrity Name Game, a fast-paced game show slated for a fall 2014 nationally syndicated launch with The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson hosting. The half-hour strip, based on the board game Identity Crisis, was developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Prods with Scott St. John (Deal Or No Deal), who will serve as showrunner. Ferguson’s involvement stems from the project’s first incarnation at CBS where Coquette sold it as a pilot two years ago under the title Identity Crisis with Ferguson hosting. In Celebrity Name Game, celebrities team with contestants to identify famous names including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters. “Celebrity Name Game is a hilarious and innovative rapid-fire game show that combines the best of pop culture with the best of comedy,” said FMNA CEO Thom Beers, noting the company’s success with game shows hosted by comedians like Drew Carey (The Price Is Right), Steve Harvey (Family Feud) and Wayne Brady (Let’s Make A Deal). This marks the second syndicated collaboration between FMNA and Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury, along with Family Feud, which is produced by FMNA and distributed by Deb-Mer.
2ND UPDATE: Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jimmy Fallon are in repeats tonight. But Conan O’Brien‘s show is original and Boston is his hometown so he comments on today’s bombings (below). So does Jimmy Kimmel (below). Also Craig Ferguson (video below) who notes during his cold open that, when he became an American citizen in 2008, he spoke at Faneuil Hall on July 4th at the invitation of Boston Mayor Tommy Menino:
CONAN O’BRIEN: We have a great show for you tonight. But first, I have to mention what an upsetting and sad day it’s been. Boston is my hometown – it’s where I grew up, and it’s where my family lives. So I just wanted to take a moment to say that – like everyone here – my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston and everyone who has been affected by this senseless act. That said — it is our job to do a show. We’re going to try and entertain you the best we can. Which, given our track record, gives you people a 20% chance of having a good time tonight.
JIMMY KIMMEL: Well – it was a terrible day. Very bad things happened today for no good reason – and our thoughts are with the people of Boston and everyone who is suffering as a result of the bombings at the marathon. It’s a disgusting thing. I don’t understand it. But my job is to make you laugh and so I will try to do that. And – I will probably fail. I’m failing already.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS’ late-night host Craig Ferguson has sold two comedy projects to the eye network through his Green Mountain West production company, which has been under an overall deal at CBS TV Studios since 2006. Both are with well known comedy writers: Friends alum Adam Chase and Everybody Loves Raymond veteran Aaron Shure. Ferguson will serve as an executive producer on the two multi-camera projects, with his producing partner Rebecca Tucker also expected to have a producing role. CBS TV Studios is the studio.
The untitled Ferguson/Chase project, written and executive produced by Chase, revolves around a group of male friends in their early 30s who decide to defy convention and try to stay single as long as possible even though everyone they know is getting married and having kids. WME-repped Chase recently worked with CBS and CBS Studios on last season’s How To Be A Gentleman.
The untitled Ferguson/Shure comedy is written/executive produced by Shure, who spent the last four years on NBC’s The Office. It centers on a charming reformed party animal who tries to deal with his new family while living next door to his ex-wife. In addition to Raymond, Shure previously worked on another CBS comedy series, The New Adventures Of Old Christine.
CBS has locked in its late night hosts for two more years. David Letterman and Craig Ferguson have signed contract extensions with the network to continue to host their late night talk shows, Late Show and The Late Late Show, respectively, through 2014. Both shows have been solely produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants banner under the talk show host’s original 1993 agreement with CBS. As part of the new pact, CBS will take on some ownership of The Late Late Show, co-producing it with Worldwide Pants. Also as part of the deal, The Late Late Show will move to a larger stage at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
For Letterman, the contract extension provides a shot at making late night history. During his new deal, the comedian, who made his debut in late night in 1982, would become the longest-running late night talk show host in TV history, surpassing the current record of 30 years held by Letterman’s idol Johnny Carson. “David Letterman is a late night legend with an iconic show and Craig Ferguson continues to evolve the genre in exciting and innovative ways,” said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler.
David Letterman and CBS are “very close” to a deal that would extend Letterman’s contract through 2014, according to the New York Times. The network also has been authorized to negotiate with staff members of Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company as well. The status of negotiations with Craig Ferguson, whose show follows Letterman’s isn’t clear. Reached for comment, CBS issued a statement, “As would be expected at this time, we’re having conversations with both Dave and Craig about future years. There are no further details to announce at this time.” Letterman’s current contract is up in August but a special provision would permit him to exit in May at the end of the regular network TV season.
EXCLUSIVE: Cheryl Maisel will be leaving Rogers and Cowan and coming back to PMK*BNC as an EVP in talent. She will be bringing long-standing clients like Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Craig Ferguson, and others.