Craig Ferguson’s exit from The Late Late Show was somewhat softened by the rumors about him getting a new talk show where he could continue to be a practitioner of punk rock comedy while standing beside his talking robot and a dancing horse. But now the powers that be have taken that away from us as well, and the ember of that show has faded out.
The station group was behind the effort to launch a half-hour talk-variety strip designed to air in early evening timeslots starting fall 2015. But the roadblock was securing clearances in other key markets. Tribune and prospective distrib Debmar-Mercury could not line up enough affiliates to make the show viable.
Syndicated night-time comedy talk shows aren’t a boom industry (ask Arsenio Hall) and Tribune is a big player in the syndication game, so if Ferguson (who has a pre-existing relationship with them due to his just-renewed game show) couldn’t get a show off-the-ground with them, it’s unlikely that he’s going to get a syndicated deal elsewhere.
That’s a really depressing thought, but I don’t think that it’s time to melt down Geoff Peterson. Ferguson’s interest in doing a similar show at an earlier hour indicates that he still had the itch to do some kind of riff on what he was doing, so perhaps when the dust clears he’ll throw his hat into the ring again and possibly pursue a cable deal or even follow his friend Larry King’s lead and go to the web. A weekly show would probably suit Ferguson’s taste’s nicely and he’s too good at the job — in all aspects — to get shut-out if he starts looking for a more conventional deal.
I liked the idea of a pre-primetime syndicated show for Ferguson, but it always seemed like a tough sell and even if it had made it to air, there is no guarantee that it would have lasted. Perhaps Ferguson’s next swipe at a show (assuming there is one — maybe the pre-primetime/syndicated thing held some kind of special appeal) will be an easier fit. I hope so, because after just a couple of weeks without, I’m jonesing hard.
Seriously. I watched Drew Carey’s version of The Late Late Show on Monday night and while I like him, I found myself staring at the boarded up space where Secretariat usually stood. Eric Idle came out, but there was no dancing and a blonde man stood at Geoff’s podium like he owned it.
Come back, Craigy Ferg.