CBS and the Recording Academy delivered a Grammy Awards shakeup Wednesday morning, announcing that James Corden will host the 2017 ceremony. The move leaves LL Cool J, who hosted the last five Grammy Awards, out in the cold.
How is this possible? Has Corden really become cooler than a man who literally has “cool” in his name?
When LL Cool J took over Grammy-hosting duties in 2012, it had been seven years since the awards had featured an official host.
At the time, the rapper-turned-actor was starring in the third season of CBS’ top-10 Nielsen-rated series “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
That, combined with his nine career Grammy nominations (and two wins), made LL Cool J a natural choice to helm the ceremony, which had grown stagnant in its ratings.
And it worked. The 2012 ceremony did see a ratings spike, with nearly 40 million viewers tuning in, making it the second-most-watched Grammys in history.
But those ratings were more likely driven by an audience eager to see the ceremony’s last-minute memorial to Whitney Houston (who died the night before) and the dominance of Adele (who won six awards).
In the years since, ratings for both “NCIS: Los Angeles” and the Grammys have flagged, particularly among adults 18-49, all but necessitating some kind of change.
In Corden, CBS and the Grammy Awards see a road back into the hearts and televisions of Americans.
The late-night host has spun “The Late, Late Show” into viral video gold with “Carpool Karaoke,” a recurring feature that sees Corden drive around Los Angeles singing with music superstars and belting their greatest hits.
He also had a successful stint hosting the 2016 Tony Awards in June as the ceremony increased ratings by 35% over 2015, thanks to the “Hamilton” effect.
Corden, like Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris before him, is well on his way to becoming the go-to awards show host.
For CBS and the Grammys, nothing is cooler than that.