Last night on the show, Craig Ferguson officially made the announcement that he’s stepping down from The Late Late Show at the end of the year. He kept it simple, brief, and as usual, did not spend a lot of time talking about himself.
Thirty-four seconds. After ten years, he allows himself 34 seconds to announce his departure.
However, he did explain to Variety the reason why he left, and it had nothing to do with Letterman’s retirement, nor was he pushed out by CBS. The truth is, he was ready to go, and in fact, had not only planned to leave at the end of his contract this year, but had seriously considered it two years ago when his contract ran out. He wanted to leave earlier this year (during the summer), but CBS convinced him to stick around until they found a replacement.
Ferguson was done, not because he didn’t like hosting The Late Late Show, but because he didn’t want to stick around long enough that he stopped liking hosting The Late Late Show. He fell backwards into the position in the first place, and as he tells Variety, he never, ever had any designs on Letterman’s job because he could barely keep it together at 12:30. When Dave announced his retirement, it threw a wrench into his own plans to announce, so he had to sit on his hands all month and wait for the right time, as stupid people on the Internet (like me!) besmirched CBS for not treating him better.
So, that’s the reality. He was going to go long before it became apparent that he was going to be replaced, which explains why Leslie Moonves was so cagey about discussing Ferguson’s position in late night.