How many women could've ably taken over for departing host Craig Ferguson on CBS's “The Late Late Show”? A lot, according to our count. But as Kathy Griffin alleges, the network never even considered a female host for the job before bringing on British comedian James Corden as Ferguson's replacement.
“I was interested in the Ferguson spot long before it was announced because I had a feeling things might shift,” Griffin told The Associated Press. “My joke phrase is, 'I can start Monday.'”
Except Griffin quickly realized that becoming the first female host of a late-night show on a major network since Joan Rivers' brief run on FOX wouldn't be quite so easy.
“They're not considering females at this time,” she quotes one executive as saying.
Griffin's alleged retort: “You realize that's illegal to say in a business meeting?”
“I walk into the (meeting) room thinking, 'I'll give it a shot,'” she continued. “I leave the room thinking, 'I never had a chance.'”
A representative for the network, meanwhile, tells Buzzfeed that not only did no CBS executive ever make that comment, but that the meeting in question never even took place. Moreover, the rep insists that CBS did in fact consider “several female candidates” to replace Ferguson – a claim that will no doubt leave many feeling skeptical considering the lamentable lack of diversity seen in late-night television over the last 60-plus years. And considering the relative youth of the newest crop of white male hosts, it could be a long time before a woman gets another crack.
“We could be looking at 40 or 50 years until a woman is hosting a network late-night talker,” she said. “Here's the deal: We're (screwed).”