A few days after the passing of Joan Rivers, the only woman to ever host a late-night show on broadcast TV, CBS announced that Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show successor would be yet another white man (and one most Americans hadn't even heard of), James Corden.
Though Kathy Griffin was disappointed in the decision, the comedian says she was far from surprised, especially since she claims that an executive told her they wouldn't even consider women for the gig.
"I was interested in the Ferguson spot long before it was announced because I had a feeling things might shift," Griffin told The Associated Press. "My joke phrase is, 'I can start Monday.'" But Griffin's dreams — and those of every other female comedian — were dashed when the executive told her: "They're not considering females at this time."
"You realize that's illegal to say in a business meeting?" she allegedly retorted.
Griffin didn't back down, telling another industry executive that the lack of women in late night is "embarrassing." His response? "Well, you have The Talk," he supposedly told Griffin.
"I walk into the [meeting] room thinking, 'I'll give it a shot.' I leave the room thinking, 'I never had a chance," Griffin said.
CBS issued a statement late Saturday responding to Griffin's claims: "CBS never said that to Kathy Griffin; never met with her, and in fact, we did meet with several female candidates."
Also in her interview, Griffin stated that for anyone to make it, they need the full support of influential executives, agents and producers, such as Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, who was instrumental in landing Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers their Late Night gigs (and who, earlier this week, announced the first "Weekend Update" desk featuring two men in SNL history).
Considering that most of the newest late-night hosts are relatively young and the lack of turnover in the industry, Griffin worries that an entire generation of women have now missed out on the opportunity to host their own show — especially considering it's already been 27 years since Rivers' series was canceled.
"We could be looking at 40 or 50 years until a woman is hosting a network late-night talker," Griffin said. "Here's the deal: We're [screwed]."
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
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