Joel McHale: I can't replace Ferguson, unless...

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You want Joel McHale to replace Craig Ferguson? Feel The Soup host would make for the perfect CBS late-night pairing with Stephen Colbert? Okay, but that choice would likely only come at a price.

McHale told Howard Stern this morning on his Sirius XM radio show that he was surprised Ferguson was stepping down, but pointed out he couldn’t likely take the job even if it was offered. “No one’s called,” says McHale, who is hosting the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday. “I don’t think I could even do it with Community. I’m under contract. I don’t think legally I could.”

Broadcast TV contracts typically prohibit a performer from working on a rival network’s show at the same time. In rare instances, a network will grant permission, but usually only for a minor appearance such as a guest spot. But NBC hasn’t renewed Community for a sixth season, and the network is expected to make that call within the next two weeks. It should be noted that hiring McHale, or any white male, would also likely put CBS under fire — tapping Colbert to replace David Letterman resulted in grumbling about the lack of diversity in late-night TV, and hiring yet another one to replace Ferguson could result in strong blowback.

“I thought he was so damn good at it,” McHale added about Ferguson. “He makes gobs of money, he doesn’t have to do anything anymore. His stand-up [career] is huge. He’s world famous when it comes to his stand-up. He makes way more money than that than it does with his late-night show.”

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