Craig Ferguson announced on Monday that he would be stepping down as host of "The Late Late Show" when his contract expires at the end of this year, marking yet another upheaval in world of late night.
The 51-year-old Scottish comedian broke the news to the audience at taping of the CBS program. In the monologue, Ferguson bluntly stated that it was his decision to leave what he called "the strangest show in late night television" and that he was not pushed out by the network.
Below are his remarks in full:
"Good evening, everyone. Before we begin the show tonight, I'd like to make a special announcement. There's been some speculation in the press recently about the state of late-night television and who does what and where they're going to be doing it. I can't help myself. So I want to address my position in all of that because ... because it's time.
"About two years ago, I had decided after eight years of doing this show that it was probably time for me to move on and do something else. 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.'
"And I said, 'OK.' And so I've stayed for another two years. But that two years is up. And at the end of this year, I will be stepping down as the host of this show. Thanks, everybody. That was quite convincing. I'll be stepping down at the end of this year in December, and 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. But I feel like doing this show for 10 years, that's enough. So I'm ... I'm letting you know that's the way it is, and that's it.
"Now, let me just add something on a personal note, because I have noticed both with the CBS market research and my own experience going around the country, that this show has the most fanatical and really passionate audience of any show in late-night television. So I would ask you to understand that what's happening here, this is my decision to go. This is not Jay-Conan of NBC. This is not Dave and Jay all these years ago. It's not that. Now, you will read that in areas of the Internet where truth is of absolutely no interest, and you will read that in the informed entertainment press where the truth is of absolutely no interest but in bigger words.
"So what I have to tell you is this. It's my decision to leave. CBS has been fine with me. You know, in fact, more than that. They've been great with me. 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. So there's none of that. This is ... this is about time. It's ... it will be 10 years. Ten years. Me doing ... I can't ask for a picture of Paul McCartney anymore. Do we have one?
"So there you are. That said, I look forward to everyone going, 'Oh, well. He's gone. Who do you think it's going to be? Here are the 10 people we think it should be. Here's the eight people that it shouldn't be but it should be if there was no justice in the world.' Whatever everyone's going to do, I hope you enjoy doing it.
"I, on the other hand, after the commercial break that's coming up, still have about another 150 or so, is it, Michael, about another 150 or so of what I'd like to think is the strangest show on late-night television. Be right back, everyone."