On the eve of Jimmy Kimmel Live’s 10th anniversary on air, the ABC late night show is finally getting its bump to the coveted 11:35 pm slot, moving Nightline to 12:35 pm.
The move will put the network’s late night franchise in a slot that allows it to go head-to-head with NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman. JKL will shift into the new time period Tuesday, Jan. 8, a day after the network airs the BCS national championship game.
In early 2011, ABC announced it is was trimming five minutes off the end of Nightline, which would allow JKL to move from 12:05 am to midnight, as part of Kimmel's new two-year deal. At the time, ABC News President Ben Sherwood stressed that Nightline would stay put at 11:35 pm, and that the move was a “strategic” means to better leverage the strength and value of both shows. A decade earlier, ABC was prepared to dump the news program for a Letterman-fronted late night show.
The news comes as the recently engaged Kimmel continues his year of firsts: the first time he emceed the White House Correspondents Dinner; the first time he was invited to host the Emmy Awards; and the first time his late-night series is up for an Emmy in the late night or variety show category.
Kimmel's late night show is coming off of its most-watched July ever, making ABC the only major broadcaster to see year-to-year growth in late-night in total viewers. During the July sweep, the series surged 14 percent in total viewers. For its part, Nightline ranked no. 1 among the key demos – both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49—during the same period, beating both NBC’s The Tonight Show and CBS’ The Late Show.
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