Jimmy Kimmel seems to really be enjoying this NBC drama.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the host of ABC’s Live! was all smiles when he discussed the reports and whispers that Jay Leno, his longtime nemesis, will soon be replaced as the host of The Tonight Show. When Tapper asked Kimmel if he thought his recent move to the 11:35 time slot would be the cause for Leno’s exit, Kimmel couldn’t hide his excitement.
“God, I hope so,” he said with a laugh. “I really — I don’t know. I mean, I have no idea. I mean, well, obviously, NBC is looking to move on, because they did it once already. This would be the second time that this has happened. So I mean, it makes perfect sense.”
As The Hollywood Reporter first reported, NBC is worried that Kimmel’s move to the same time slot as Leno (and CBS’ David Letterman) will cause NBC to lose coveted young viewers, thus hastening the planned transition to Fallon. Kimmel has long made known his hatred for Leno, from wearing fake chins to ripping him on stage and in print, but he says his mother told him to stop with the insults.
He also admits Leno is good at his job.
“I do think he’s capable. I’ve seen him. I’ve — I mean, the guy is one of the great comedians,” he says, though he submits that Leno has “dumbed down” his act.
Creative or personal, he seems to have no such animosity toward Fallon.
“Jimmy Fallon is doing a great job,” he continued. “And he’s very popular. And so, eventually, it’s going to happen one way or the other, right? Right?”