The subject of late-night TV came up right away when Ferguson sat down with Jay — which is usually the case when these two late-night hosts get together on one of their shows.
On Wednesday night, Jay asked Craig about a mishap that occurred the other day when an air conditioning unit in Ferguson’s “Late Late Show” studio sprung a leak above the audience, rendering about half the seats unusable.
As a result, about half the audience members were moved to temporary seating that was set up on-stage, in a portion of the studio where the “Ferguson” show band would be located — if the show had a band, which it does not.
In fact, “Late Late Show” is the only one of the major late-night shows without a house band — a situation that really seemed to irk Jay, who advised that Ferguson demand a band from CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.
“We had to move half the audience to where we don’t have a band, on the stage,” Ferguson told Jay after Jay asked about the broken air conditioner. “We have a space for a band,” Ferguson explained, “but we don’t have a band.”
Leno then pointed out that CBS can probably afford a band for Ferguson’s show. “You got the No. 1 network,” Jay said. “You would think these cheap bastards would give you a band!”
“Hey, if I’ve learned one thing, Jay, it’s never bad-mouth the network on any show!” Ferguson said.
To which Jay countered: “You tell Les Moonves you’re getting a band! You tell him I said to give you a band!”
The two also couldn’t resist referring to Leno’s current situation, in which he’s preparing to end his run as the host of “The Tonight Show” next year to make way for Jimmy Fallon. Leno, of course, is stepping down even as his show continues to enjoy the highest ratings in late-night TV.
On that subject, Ferguson had some advice for Leno after Jay asked him how his own show is doing. “The show’s going OK, only OK, though,” Ferguson said. And that’s alright with him, as he then explained. “Here’s a tip for you, by the way, if you ever get into this,” Ferguson advised Leno, “Don’t have your show do really, really, really well in the ratings, Jay, because that’s what gets you fired!”
“Really, really, I’ll keep that in mind!” Jay said.
“What you want to do is just stay in the middle so nobody notices you’re there!” Ferguson said, describing the key to his own success on CBS.
Ferguson and Leno also discussed a rather pungent plumbing snafu that occurred recently at Ferguson’s home. And the two took turns playing a harmonica. Who knew Leno could play a harmonica? Well, he can — sort of.
This was the second time in recent months that Ferguson has crossed over from CBS to appear on Leno’s show. The last time was just this past March. Leno was last on Ferguson’s show last October. He’s not booked for a return appearance to the “Ferguson” show any time soon, said a CBS press rep when we inquired.
These appearances always have us asking the same basic question: How does NBC feel about Leno helping Ferguson promote his CBS late show, which happens to compete with Jimmy Fallon on NBC?
Later in the same evening, Ferguson discussed his “Tonight Show” appearance on his own show with guest Lauren Graham, who appeared with Leno the night before. “I enjoy Jay’s company,” Ferguson told her, as the two compared notes on their “Tonight Show” experiences.