Some 18 months ago, James Corden was a relative unknown introducing himself and his late-night entry, “The Late Late Show,” at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
Returning Monday morning to the same location with what he said was the same question in mind (“Why are we in Pasadena?”), Corden presented the first spinoff of that show. His star-studded “Carpool Karaoke” segment will be transitioning from a viral favorite to a standalone, 16-episode series on Apple Music.
Corden said he imagined “Carpool Karaoke” as a tentpole to hold up his program along the lines of legendary late-night fixtures such as David Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks” and Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking.”
But even as the segment has now grown beyond his own show, and he won’t be hosting the Apple Music series, Corden doesn’t feel any sense of loss.
“I don’t even feel like it’s mine, really,” he said. “I feel like it’s just something I’ve been part of, and now what’s lovely is other people will be part of it and share it.”
The new shows each will be a half hour long and also feature an interview segment between each episode’s guests. Pairings revealed on Monday included Metallica with “Billy on the Street” star Billy Eichner, Seth MacFarlane and Ariana Grande and John Legend with Alicia Keys. “One is made as a bit on a talk show and the other is an interview series,” explained co-producer Ben Winston.
There was no confirmation whether the new “Carpool Karaoke” will also feature ad breaks, but Corden joked, “They’re going to be advertising a lot of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s.”
Asked how “Carpool Karaoke” wound up on a streaming music service, co-producer Eric R. Pankowski said Apple had been looking to get into video and “grabbed [the show] with both hands right off the jump.”
Corden also talked about another “Late Late Show” segment that’s being spun off into its own series, the celebrity rap-battle “Drop the Mic,” which is coming to TBS. But he’s not worried about overextending himself.
“It’s good to be tired,” he said. “I’m aware this isn’t going to be the case forever.”
In the meantime, Corden continues to amp up his late-night antics, including Monday’s epic “Broadway Riff-Off” with Neil Patrick Harris.
Follow me over here @chrisbarton.