Jimmy Kimmel’s future in late-night at ABC is still in flux but ABC chief Craig Erwich reiterated his hopes to keep the comedian on the air for as long as possible.
Erwich, who is President, Hulu Originals & ABC Entertainment, said that Kimmel, who hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! was the “king of late-night” as the longest running late-night show host on the air.
“We will have Jimmy for as many seasons as he wants to be on the air,” he said at his TCA executive session.
Erwich pointed to Kimmel’s on air tribute last night of his friend Bob Saget, calling it “heartwarming” and “funny”.
He added that the network loves to work with Kimmel as a producer – he runs his own production company Kimmelot – and is responsible for Live In Front of a Studio Audience.
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This comes after Kimmel caused the late-night gossip mill to whirl after he revealed last year that he wasn’t sure whether he would continue to host his nightly talk show after his current contract is up.
Kimmel told Howard Stern last year that he was “vacillating” over the decision.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! had one of its best seasons in recent years, coming second to CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and beating NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in the 18-49 demo for the first time.
It’s understood that Kimmel’s contract is up next summer and if does decide to leave, the network would have to figure out how to replace him. It’s a particularly tough trick given the name of the show doesn’t necessarily allow for a new host in the same way that The Late Show and The Tonight Show do, and ABC doesn’t have anyone who follows Kimmel in the way that Seth Meyers and James Corden do for Fallon and Colbert, respectively.
It’s not the first time that Kimmel has considered retiring from the show. In 2019, he revealed that he had thought about leaving but that ABC bosses had persuaded him to return for another three years, taking the show to 20 seasons.
Kimmel’s production business Kimmelot, a venture with Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse, is behind programs such as ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers as well as his latest project, ESPN’s 30 for 30 New York Mets documentary series Once Upon a Time in Queens.
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