The late night network landscape is positively overrun by Jameses these days.
Sure, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers enjoyed bumps due to their election coverage, but they may have to photoshop their birth certificates if they want to continue to compete.
(Come to think of it, America seems primed for a late night birther controversy, at the moment!)
Kimmel, of course, is the O.G. Jimmy (We suppose that should be the O.J., but we can’t do that to the man.), having held down his time slot on ABC since back in 2003.
Next came Fallon, beginning with a 12:30 spot on NBC in 2009, and taking over the revered Tonight Show at 11:30 in 2014.
Late to the party (Or should we say late, late to the party?) was James Corden, who took over The Late, Late Show last year.
Corden seemed an odd choice at first, as he was a virtual unknown to American audiences and he doesn’t tell jokes, so much as he … drives around and sings songs with celebrities?
We don’t really get his appeal, but against all odds, the self-deprecating Brit has found himself an audience.
But like the Beatles before him, Corden isn’t content to just croon a few bars for a notoriously fickle demo.
No, sources say he wants to launch a full-scale invasion, and he’s got his sights set on everyone’s favorite king of party games and hair-tousling:
Yes, according to Radar Online, Corden thinks Fallon is vulnerable, not because of his controversial softball interview with Donald Trump, but because of the other well-publicized issue that’s given Jimmy more than his share of press headaches.
Rumors about Fallon’s drinking problem have plagued the beloved comic for years.
Sources say his boozing has resulted in injuries (including two falls that resulted in hospitalizations), problems at home, and frequent friction with his bosses.
NBC execs issued a statement on Fallon’s drinking back in January and claimed they had no real concerns, but many remain unconvinced.
And where NBC might see a potential crisis, Corden reportedly sees an opportunity.
“He sees Jimmy as a loose cannon and it’s just a matter of time before he screws up,” a source close to the situation tells Radar.
“They couldn’t be more polar opposites — James lives a sober life off-camera and is careful about not partying with his staff.”
The insider adds that Corden is hungry for an 11:30 time slot, and he sees Fallon as being far less reliable than his own network’s Colbert – a trait he believes will eventually lead NBC to seek new talent elsewhere.
“James has every intention of knocking Fallon off his pedestal when the time is right and he’s playing a slow and studied game to make it happen,” says the source.
“James studies Jimmy’s program to make sure they haven’t copied his funniest bits, while Jimmy tends to crash James’ interviews at events.”
Frankly, if this is really Mr. Corden’s plan, we think he’s out of luck.
Not only will NBC put up with all manner of Fallon shenanigans so long as his ratings remain steady, Corden isn’t the only backup looking for a chance to start.
Seth Meyers has been crushing it lately, and he’s been a favorite at NBC since his days on SNL.
Looks like for now, James should probably just stay in his lane – the carpool lane.