Craig Ferguson ends 10 years as host of the ‘Late Late Show’

By Frazier Moore ,AP

NEW YORK — It’s not such a great day, America �X not for fans of Craig Ferguson.

Ferguson, television’s kinetic Scottish cutup, on Friday brings to a close his decade-long run as host of CBS’ ��The Late Late Show.��

Airing Friday at 12:35 a.m. EST, he concluded a grand stretch of silliness and smarts that, while never posing much of a ratings threat to talk-show rivals, struck a chord with a loyal following (and earned him a coveted Peabody Award for his 2009 interview with �X of all people �X Archbishop Desmond Tutu). Smarts with silliness.

Last April, Ferguson told viewers he was stepping down.

��CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are consciously uncoupling,�� he said, puckishly echoing the words of estranged Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin.

This was no surprise since, weeks earlier, David Letterman had announced he was retiring from ��Late Show,�� whereupon CBS tapped Stephen Colbert to replace him. Once upon a time, Ferguson had been thought a strong contender for that job.

But ��The Late Late Show�� began fading in the ratings, particularly with the arrival of Seth Meyers last February as his NBC competition.

Ferguson’s imminent departure is being upstaged by the much-anticipated, much-lamented exit Thursday by Colbert as host of Comedy Central’s ��The Colbert Report.�� He will step into his ��Late Show�� role sometime after Letterman’s signoff May 20.

Taking Ferguson’s place as host of ��The Late Late Show�� is British actor-writer-comedian James Corden, who debuts March 9.