ABC is shuffling its late-night lineup, moving “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from its current midnight slot to a position where it will go head-to-head with late-night talk fixtures “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on NBC at 11:35 p.m., Nellie Andreeva reports on Deadline.com.
ABC’s long-running “Nightline” newsmagazine, which currently holds the 11:35 slot, will move to 12:35, following “Kimmel.”
The move, which is said to have been years in the making, will take place Jan. 8.
“Kimmel” started out in the 12:05 a.m. time slot in January 2011, more recently moving to a midnight start time with “Nightline” shortened to 25 minutes, the report notes.
The report adds: “ABC will add a permanent primetime edition of ‘Nightline’ in the Friday 9 p.m. slot beginning March 1. The slot had been occupied by ABC News with the successful ‘What Would You Do?’ franchise.”
Andreeva writes: “I hear ABC’s decision to pull the trigger on the long-rumored switcheroo stems from ‘JKL‘s’ ratings momentum — ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ was the only late-night broadcast talk show to increase its viewership this past season, its most-watched in 5 years — and it has younger audience, making it appealing to advertisers.”
Said Anne Sweeney, Disney/ABC TV Group president, “Given the passionate fan base ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ has built over the past decade, and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the timeslot.”
Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, added: “The time is right for Kimmel to make this move. … He’s ready, and so is his audience.”
Andreeva notes: “There had long been speculation that ABC wanted to put an entertainment program at 11:35 p.m. The network brass reportedly offered the slot to David Letterman when it went after the late-night host more than a decade ago. But the storied history and ratings strength of ‘Nightline’ always got in the way, with the news division able to protect its time period.”