Apple Music buys James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke spin-off

They liked it, so they made a spin-off series

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Having a good old-fashioned sing-along in the car has proven fruitful for James Corden and CBS’s The Late Late Show as it’s revealed that Apple Music has bought the global rights to a stand-alone spin-off series of ‘Carpool Karaoke’.

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You know Carpool Karaoke? The talk show segment in which Corden pretends to need some company on the way to work and in hop the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Justin Bieber, Adele and Chris Martin (we could go on) who promptly have a ruddy good gossip while singing along to some tunes. Usually their own music, but it doesn’t have to be. Michelle Obama, for one, does a mean Beyoncé.

There’s bad news too, though: Corden himself isn’t expected to host, but rather will be behind the scenes as Executive Producer. Who will shuffle over into the driving seat remains to be seen, but anyone with a half-decent voice who can steer a car and be funny at the same time should start updating their CV.

The 16-part series will air weekly on the paid-for streaming service for subscribers in 100 countries (yes, that means you need to sign up and pay. Although you could time the three-month free trial just right for a peek at the action). It will be co-produced by CBS and production company Fulwell 73.

There’s no doubt there’s a taste for the comedy skit outside of the US talk show. The segment is the biggest viral video hit ever on late-night television, with over 830 million views on YouTube since its inception a year ago. Within a week of going up on YouTube, First Lady Michelle Obama’s turn in the passenger seat has had more than 33 million views. Adele’s – the current number one among the crop – has had an eye-watering 119 million+ views. Bieber has been back multiple times.

The series itself has just bagged four Emmy nominations including one for Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Carpool Karaoke is, quite literally, seen as a big driving force behind this.

It’s not the first talk show to see its comedy bits expanded like this. Lip Sync Battle, which sees celebrities compete with each other to do the best mime to well-known tracks, now airs as a stand-alone series in more than 10 countries. This includes in the UK where it has enjoyed more than 2 million viewers an episode on Channel 5. After originally being introduced on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it went on to be a regular feature on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Masterminded by actor John Krasinski, its premiere in the US on Spike was the channel’s highest-rated debut ever and it just bagged an Emmy 2016 nomination for ‎Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

Carpool Karaoke will continue as a segment on the CBS show. So whether this new spin-off will compete with those videos, or will see a boost in subscribers for the paid-for service, remains to be seen. But Apple is confident.

“We love music, and Carpool Karaoke celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Apple Music on this exciting new series of Carpool Karaoke,” added Late Late Show executive producer Ben Winston who founded Fulwell 73.

“The joy of Carpool is both the intimacy it creates, while seeing the love our passengers have for music. Where better to showcase that than with Apple Music?”

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A launch date and host will be announced in due course.