The Late Late Show will never be the same.
Following months of speculation that he'd be leaving CBS by 2015, Craig Ferguson announced Monday that his tenure is indeed ending. "About two years ago, I had decided after eight years...that it was probably time for me to move on and do something else," he joked during the show's cold open. "And CBS came to me at that time and said, 'Well, you could hang around and we'll give you a fancy new studio and a podium for your gay robot skeleton and a stable for your horse and an invisible band behind a curtain. We'll give you all the trappings of late-night television.'"
All jokes aside, Ferguson said, "At the end of this year, I will be stepping down as host of this show." After the audience expressed their sadness, he joked, "Thanks everybody. That was quite convincing."
"I'll be stepping down at the end of this year in December," said the host, who replaced Craig Kilborn in 2005. "Then I'll go and do something else, probably. I'm thinking carpentry, but I haven't made my mind up yet. I don't know what I'm going to do yet but I feel doing this show for 10 years, that's enough." Ferguson reassured viewers that CBS has "been great" with him over the past decade. "I have a good relationship with them. I'm still in business with them on other stuff, so please don't picket them or go up to CBS with flaming torches, unless you're angry at me, then, you know, get in line."
Ferguson emphasized that it was his decision to leave The Late Late Show and that he wasn't pushed out by third parties. "This is not Jay [Leno], Conan [O'Brien] of NBC," he said, referring to the Tonight Show debacle of 2009-2010. "This is not Dave [Letterman] and Jay all these years ago. It's not that."
Ferguson will next host Celebrity Name Game, a syndicated game show starting this fall 2014. The 51-year-old comic is also developing TV projects through his Green Mountain West production company.
"During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30," CBS president Nina Tassler said in a statement. "He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television. Craig's versatile talents as a writer, producer, actor and comedian speak to his great days ahead. While we'll miss Craig and can't thank him enough for his contributions to both the show and the Network, we respect his decision to move on, and we look forward to celebrating his final broadcasts during the next eight months."