Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly Sell Comedy to ABC (Exclusive)

In a career first, Kimmel will write the pilot script
Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly  AP Images/Invision

Jimmy Kimmel’s humor could be expanding to ABC’s primetime lineup.

The network’s beloved late night host has sold a pilot script via ABC Studios, which made a major script commitment plus penalties. Kimmel will write the pilot himself, something he has never done before, as well as produce alongside his longtime friend Carson Daly. Joining the pair as an executive producer on the project is a more experienced scripted hand, Dan Fogelman, whose résumé includes creating ABC comedy The Neighbors.

The untitled half-hour entry is about a once massively popular VJ who loses it all and is forced to move back in with his parents and take a job as host of a local radio "morning zoo." If that scenario sounds familiar, it should — the concept is loosely based on Daly’s career before his recent resurgence as host of NBC breakout reality competition The Voice and a regular role on the same network’s Today show.

Kimmel and Daly have a lengthy shared history, dating back to the mid-1990s, when the former convinced the latter to drop out of college and become his intern at popular L.A. radio station KROQ. The two men, who both went on to become late night hosts (Kimmel at ABC; Daly at NBC), have remained close in the two decades since.

The comedy sale comes as Kimmel’s clout at the Disney-owned network continues to grow. His nightly show, along with its many viral videos, has successfully secured a loyal audience that's expanded in recent years despite a deluge of competition across the dial. He was tapped to host the Emmys (on ABC in 2012) as well as the White House Correspondents' Dinner (that same year), and is a regular and refreshing presence at the network’s upfront presentation in May.

Although plenty of late night hosts have served as producers on primetime series — David Letterman's production company was behind Everybody Loves Raymond on CBS; Conan O'Brien produced Rebel Wilson's Super Fun Night at ABC; and Jimmy Fallon was an EP on NBC's Guys With Kids — rarely does someone in Kimmel's position have the time or know-how to write, too.

Kimmel and Daly are both repped by Dixon Talent and Jackoway Tyerman; Fogelman is repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Bruce Gellman.

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