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Jimmy Kimmel isn’t going anywhere.
Despite flirting with moving on for years now, the ABC host has agreed to a three-year extension. The lucrative new pact will take his Emmy-nominated Jimmy Kimmel Live! through its 23rd season, making Kimmel one of the longest-tenured talk show hosts in television.
“After two decades at ABC, I am now looking forward to three years of what they call ‘quiet quitting,'” he joked in a statement Tuesday.
The news is a considerable win for ABC, which, as a result, won’t have to try to reinvent the time period at an already challenging time for linear television. Moreover, Kimmel has proved himself a major asset for the network and its parent Disney, well beyond his nightly hour of late night hosting. He regularly appears at the company’s annual upfront presentation, where he skewers his bosses and their competitors in what is routinely a highlight of the week. He has also pulled double duty as an emcee of both the Oscars and the Emmys on multiple occasions, hosts and produces ABC’s Emmy-nominated Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise with Norman Lear, and co-created the unscripted show Generation Gap with Kelly Ripa.
Though Kimmel has long tangoed with the idea of leaving late night, even pitching a contingency plan for the ABC hour to former network chief Karey Burke, it’s hard to imagine him doing so. After all, this a guy who’d celebrate his birthdays growing up with a Late Night cake and, once he reached driving age, had a L8Nite vanity plate on his first car. His own show has become increasingly personal in recent years, too, as he’s utilized the platform to push causes that are particularly important to him. After his son was born with a rare congenital heart defect, for instance, he used the nightly stage to speak passionately about the need for universal health coverage. The former Man Show host has been similarly ardent and emotional on the subject of gun control, regularly taking politicians to task without any fear of alienating swaths of his broadcast audience.
“For 20 years, Jimmy Kimmel has been a huge part of the ABC family and the heartbeat of late-night television,” noted ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals president Craig Erwich. “Not only has he entertained our audiences night after night with his sharp comedy, dynamic interviews and irreverent humor, but he has gotten us through some of the most momentous events in our history with optimism and heart. There is no one funnier and more authentic than Jimmy. We are so proud of the incredibly talented team at Jimmy Kimmel Live! and could not be happier to continue our partnership.”
To be sure, moving on isn’t always as easy as it seems – or rather, moving on and trying to remain relevant isn’t always as easy as it seems. Sure, Stephen Colbert was able to do it, but he had a late night gig at CBS already lined up following his Comedy Central departure. By contrast, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is still finding his footing with his Apple TV+ follow-up. What will become of CBS’ James Corden, who’s poised to sign off at the end of this season, or Samantha Bee, whose late night show was canceled earlier this summer, remains unclear. As for Kimmel, who will celebrate his 20th anniversary on ABC in January, he’s been busy expanding his footprint with media company Kimmelot, which is described on its website as “Kimmel’s creative lab.”
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