January 9, 2013

THE SKED: “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Moves to 11:35PM


Jimmy Kimmel’s set got a bit of an upgrade, but other than that there was little visible evidence that the 11:35PM version of JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE will be very different from its midnight incarnation.  Kimmel has never been Mr. High-Concept–he leaves that for Letterman and Conan–and as Jay Leno, still the winner in both total households and 18-49s (although The Daily Show nips at his heels in the demo) has become something of a symbol of power-mad mediocrity for those who aren’t fans, Kimmel has inherited the mantle of being the nice, regular guy behind the desk.

So when the newly appointed hour arrived, Kimmel simply came out and delivered his monologue, pretty much like any other night.  There was an amusing “desk bit” with celebrities (Selena Gomez, Bryan Cranston, Christina Applegate, etc) reading nasty tweets about themselves, and then Jennifer Aniston, the only regular guest (No Doubt provided the music), showed up with a sledgehammer to destroy his “new desk” and cut his hair.  The latter was probably less funny than it was intended to be, partly because Aniston seemed to take the assignment surprisingly seriously.

For a night, it was great to be Kimmel, as his show increased almost 60% in total audience and 33% in 18-49s.  Jimmy Kimmel Live had a 2.8 in households (over 2.7 for Letterman and 2.5 for Leno), beat Letterman in total viewers and was just behind Leno (3.1M vs. 3.3M and 2.9M) and had a 1.0 in 18-49s (over 0.6 and 0.8).  But ratings for the first night of a new or reconfigured talk show are typically misleading because of the hype that surrounds them (Conan’s Tonight Show and Leno’s 10PM fiasco both started with great numbers).  Late-night watching patterns tend to shift very slowly, so last night’s ratings are unlikely to hold up indefinitely.  Kimmel, though, at 45 years old, has time going for him, as Leno (62) and Letterman (65) won’t be around forever–although in Leno’s case, they may have to pry the microphone out of his hands–and in the long term, any inroads Kimmel makes will serve him well against the next generation of hosts.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."