Who Should Host Apple Music’s Version Of “Carpool Karaoke”?

The brand has licensed the concept from CBS, but what will it be without James Corden?

Who Should Host Apple Music’s Version Of “Carpool Karaoke”?
The First Lady Michelle Obama joins James Corden for Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show with James Corden [Photo: courtesy of CBS]

As you may have heard, Apple Music has done a deal with CBS Studios to license the insanely popular Late Late Show with James Corden segment, Carpool Karaoke. According to reports, the brand plans to spin it off into its own 16-episode series available to Apple Music subscribers.


Now, Carpool Karaoke is a viral hit for many reasons, chief among them is the sheer quality and variety of guests–from One Direction and Adele, to Michelle Obama and Stevie Wonder. But another huge factor is host James Corden himself. He’s got great pipes but still seems relatable, his easy going rapport with guests produces fun banter and his lack of ego–see the Red Hot Chili Peppers episode–makes everyone and the show that much better.

Lip Sync Battle made the transition from late night segment to standalone show by enlisting the MC skills of LL Cool J to stand-in for Jimmy Fallon, and that show has continued its popularity on Spike. So a big question mark and challenge for Apple Music is to find the right host who can step up and grab the singalong steering wheel without feeling like a downgrade from the original.

Here is our completely non-scientific, unauthorized, most likely unrealistic short list of five names that could or should be considered for potential hosting duties.

Zane Lowe: At first glance he seems a bit self-serious for a show like this, but given his status as the face of Apple Music it could only boost his popularity, while adding a different dimension to his public persona.

Leslie Jones: Not sure of her interviewing skills but if she could translate even just a little of her Game of Thrones enthusiasm to vehicular singing, this would be pure gold.

Neil Patrick Harris: Not only does he have the personality and pipes to fit the bill (dude won the best leading actor in a musical Tony Award in 2014), Harris also boasts a serious hosting resume, from guest runs on Live With Kelly, to being one letter away from a hosting EGOT, with just The Grammys to go.


Kyle Gass: Often known as “the other guy” in Tenacious D, Gass can not only replace Corden’s hefty white dude role, but also happens to be an absolutely hilarious Juilliard-trained musician.

Mindy Kaling: Obviously Kaling is funny and has the gift of gab, but she’s also a pop culture junkie who would be able to banter with the best of them. She has said she’s not interested in a talk show, but a pre-recorded web series would be a nice compromise.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.