NEW YORK: Award-winning British actor James Corden settled in to his new late-night gig Monday, welcoming stars Tom Hanks and Mila Kunis to his first show as host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.”
Not widely known in the U.S. before he landed the high-profile job, Corden also got a boost from a host of household names in a sketch that showed him preparing to become the face of a popular talk show.
Meryl Streep, Arnold Schwarzenegger and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno alternately trained, inspired and worked the new guy over. Leno slapped him repeatedly before saying, “In three months, this job will be mine.”
“However shocked you are that I am doing this job,” the host joked, in a nod to his relative anonymity, “you will never be as shocked as I am.”
Corden brought out Kunis and Hanks together, in a break from late night talk show tradition, and both stars remained on set for the program’s duration. He also conducted his interviews seated alongside them, instead of behind a desk.
After congratulating Kunis on her new baby, Corden asked if she and Ashton Kutcher, the father, had got married. “I don’t know,” she replied. “Maybe.”
“They got married!” Corden exclaimed after Hanks pointed to the ring on her finger, and congratulated her. Kunis didn’t confirm, but appeared to thank him before the show cut to a commercial.
Corden and Hanks also paid rapid-fire tribute to Hanks’ hit films – including “Forrest Gump,” “Big” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” for which Corden wore a blonde wig to stand in for co-star Meg Ryan.
The show ended with Corden crooning about his new gig and thanking his first-night guests.
A Tony award-winning actor, who starred in the hit movie musical “Into the Woods,” Corden replaced Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson.
The late-night show airs nightly after veteran David Letterman’s “Late Show.” Letterman will step down from his post soon, with Stephen Colbert taking the reins.
Guests scheduled later this week include Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Chris Pine. Michael Douglas, David Beckham and Simon Cowell are all slated to appear in coming weeks.
“The Late Late Show” will continue in California, unlike NBC’s “Tonight Show” which last year moved to New York from its longtime home in Burbank when new host Jimmy Fallon took over from Leno.