Late night's Craig Ferguson ready for a relaxing change this July 4th

craig-ferguson-cbs.jpg Craig Ferguson isn't hosting CBS' Fourth of July festivities this year, but he says that's OK.

The network's Scottish-born, wee-hours star of "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" had presided over the "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" since 2007. However, that job goes to "The Shield" Emmy winner and Massachusetts native Michael Chiklis with Monday's (July 4) edition, featuring Martina McBride (replacing the originally scheduled Lionel Richie) as the musical guest with conductor Keith Lockhart and the Pops.

"It was time to go to the family barbecue," the often-gregarious Ferguson tells Zap2it. "It was nice doing the show in Boston, and I might do it again, but I've got young kids. It's time for us to go work with some sparklers. I'm glad Michael's doing it this year; he's a nice guy, and he's a local boy, so it makes sense."

The 2008 event was especially memorable for Ferguson, since he had just become an American citizen several months earlier. "I think I feel as patriotic as I ever did," he reflects, "coupled with a sense of relief that I don't have to pass any more tests! It's a holiday I enjoy, and it's very meaningful if you're an immigrant. The independence feels almost personal."

Newly returned from Paris -- where he taped a week of "Late Late Show" episodes that CBS begins airing Monday, Aug. 1 -- Ferguson will be heard again in movie theaters soon. After his stint in last year's "How to Train Your Dragon," he supplies the voice of Owl in Disney's new animated feature "Winnie the Pooh," opening Friday, July 15.

"I loved doing it," Ferguson says. "I'm glad they asked me. The animation community is fairly small. The directors of the 'Dragon' movie knew the directors of 'Winnie the Pooh,' and I guess word got around that I was punctual and not too expensive.

"There is a great sense of fun, and you're given time to play ... plus, I don't normally make a lot of stuff that my kids can see. It's nice to do something that even the baby boy can look at."
Photo/Video credit: CBS