Craig Ferguson Moves On To Puppets After ‘Celebrity Name Game’ Cancelled

When Craig Ferguson ended his run on late night television in December 2014, he told Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons the one guest he’d regretted never having on the show. As The New Yorker wrote at the time, Ferguson wanted to chat with literary icon Kurt Vonnegut. Ferguson blamed his own lack of bravery at the time for failure to get the author in the interview chair.

“He wouldn’t leave New York and I didn’t have the nuts at the time to take the show to New York…. By the time I figured it out he had passed.”

The choice of Vonnegut might seem surprising for another comedian or talk show host, but Ferguson has demonstrated his own uniqueness through the sheer diversity of projects he’s explored. As he was wrapping up his late night gig, he started hosting a daytime game show, Celebrity Name Game. The quick-moving show produced by Courteney Cox and David Arquette featured celebrities giving clues about ideas and individuals to contestants.

As The Hollywood Reporter confirmed earlier this month, Celebrity Name Game won’t continue after its present and third season. The show earned Ferguson two Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, but its ratings, although solid, were just not enough to warrant continuing with the show. Ferguson has another project in the pipeline, however: puppets.

Craig Ferguson of 'Celebrity Name Game'
Craig Ferguson won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his role as host of 'Celebrity Name Game.' [Image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]

As Deadline reported, NBC has picked up the special Top Puppet, a competition-style program that will find the next great puppet act. Not intended to be a series just yet, the show is conceived as a stand-alone, one-time special. Although Ferguson might seem like a perfect choice to introduce the contestants and chat with them between performances, Deadline reports he’s staying behind the scenes as an executive producer.

Top Puppet comes with a significant credential, as The Jim Henson Company has also been tapped to produce the show along with Talpa Media, which is behind singing competition show The Voice. As for what constitutes a puppet, Deadline reports it can be anything from a sock puppet to a full stage costume. Casting is currently underway, but diversity is encouraged, from marionettes to giant walkers to ventriloquists.

Craig Ferguson of 'Join or Die'
Craig Ferguson was the host of a late night talk show for 10 years before hosting 'Celebrity Name Game.' [Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Anyone who misses seeing Ferguson on television can also check him out on the panel show Join or Die on the History Channel. The show’s official site offers a cryptic description of the program, “a high-end, celebrity-driven panel show built specifically for the 21st century.” Talk is what Ferguson may do best, although, as a previous Inquisitr article described, he’s also been a drummer in a punk band and actor on such shows as Hot in Cleveland and The Drew Carey Show.

Ferguson told The Daily Beast in late 2015 he did not expect his Celebrity Name Game gig to last forever, nor did he want it to. He enjoyed the uncertainty of not knowing what was coming next.

“[T]he key to it is this: I don’t feel settled into anything. This is something I’m doing now. Will I do game shows forever? [Absolutely] not. Will I do it for a little while? Yeah. It’s easy and fun and I make a little money.”

What would he do forever? According to the Daily Beast article, that was reserved for one gig: stand up comedy. Ferguson continues to take his act on the road, in between talking and hosting jobs and executive producing television specials about puppets.

[Featured Image by Jerod Harris/Getty Images]