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James Corden Reworks Opening of London-Based ‘Late Late Show’ in Wake of Terror Attack

Variety logo Variety 6/5/2017 Stewart Clarke
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James Corden is reworking the opening of this week’s London-based episodes of “The Late Late Show” in the wake of the terrorist attack that claimed seven lives over the weekend in the British capital.

“What we’re doing is in flux right now, but we had an opening that we’d been working on for a while and we’d shot probably 75% of it, but we agreed that we don’t think it feels tonally right after the weekend to start the show like that,” Corden said Monday. “We’re going to work tonight and tomorrow on how we will open the show.”

The actor-comedian spoke to Variety on the set of his London show in the Central Hall Westminster, a sprawling church and conference center directly across from famed Westminster Abbey.

The three London episodes of “The Late Late Show” will on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. Guests will include Nicole Kidman, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Kit Harington, Russell Brand, and Anthony Joshua. Harry Styles and Kings of Leon are among the musical acts. The show will also feature a new “Carpool Karaoke” segment with Ed Sheeran, but that was previously filmed in L.A.

Corden said “Carpool Karaoke” and “Drop the Mic” were the signatures of his CBS talk show. “You have to have your tentpoles. Otherwise, you’re only reliant on news, and that can be quite dangerous,” Corden said. “Letterman had ‘Top 10 Lists’ and ‘Stupid Pet Tricks,’ Jay Leno had ‘Jay Walking,’ Fallon has ‘Thank You Notes’ and ‘Lip Sync Battles,’ Kimmel does ‘Mean Tweets,’ and Seth does ‘A Closer Look,’ and you have to have those things. We were lucky in our first 10 to 12 months on air we found two.”

“The Late Late Show” has been lauded for using social media to great effect, with “Carpool Karaoke” gaining huge traction online. Corden said the advent of catch-up TV and digital platforms meant that viewers can watch more than one late-night talk show.

“It used to be you had to choose a host. You don’t anymore – I can watch them all,” he said. “We could watch all of them on a mobile phone right now. You don’t have to make a choice. I don’t think about our show of being on at any specific time.”

Corden was seeing the London set for the first time when he spoke to Variety.  “It’s taken my breath away a little bit – it’s just dawning on me quite how ambitious we’re being,” he said. “It feels different in that we’re in this huge space and the audience is very different, and we might be talking to a lot of people who have only ever watched segments of the show online. That’s going to be tough, but we’re going into it with as much in our locker as we could have hoped for.”

Sky will transmit all three shows this week in a 10 p.m. slot on its flagship Sky 1 channel. In the U.S., the show will go out on CBS as usual. The show is produced by Fulwell 73, the U.K.-based production company in which Corden recently became a partner.

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