James Corden turned down hosting 'The Late Late Show' until CBS convinced him

CBS really had to win over James Corden before he agreed to host “The Late Late Show.”

The British actor and singer said he turned down the job offer twice before signing on to replace Craig Ferguson.

CBS CEO Les Moonves, recently elevated to chairman, and now-former president Nina Tassler approached Corden about the hosting job after seeing him in the Broadway hit “One Man, Two Guvnors.” 

“I was really reticent. I said no, and then it went quiet for a few weeks,” Corden told men’s style site Mr. Porter in a new interview. “Then I said no again.”

There was an element of risk for Corden in leaving the UK for the late-night job. Not quite a name here in the US at the time, Corden was very popular across the pond. He had written and starred on the sitcom “Gavin & Stacey” for three seasons; hosted the British equivalent of the Grammys, the Brit Awards; won a Tony award and a BAFTA, the Brits’ highest award for film and TV. Also, he’d have to postpone writing a show for HBO and a return to Broadway.

It would take some convincing from Corden’s friend, former “America’s Got Talent” judge and CNN host Piers Morgan, who said, “It’s a fierce and unforgiving place, but you’ll regret not trying.”

So, Corden reconsidered.

“I thought, it won’t come round again,” he said. “In five years’ time they won’t go, ‘Oh, let’s go back to that guy who turned us down.'”

Corden debuted on “The Late Late Show” in March 2015. He still trails behind Seth Meyers’ “Late Night” in the ratings, according to Nielsen research, but he takes pride in the show’s more than 600 million views on YouTube, fuelled by the very viral “Carpool Karoake” segments in which Corden sings to the radio with a famous musical guest. Elton John, Adele (see above), and Chris Martin have recently appeared on the segment.

“Good numbers if you’ve been on ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 10 years,” he said of the YouTube views.

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